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GUM DISEASE: CAUSES, RISK FACTORS, SYMPTOMS AND TREATMENT

What is gum disease?

It is an infection that affects the gums caused by buildup of food material that gets calcified over time.

Early-stage gum disease (gingivitis) includes swollen, bleeding gums. Some people experience no symptoms. It is reversible with timely treatment.

Advanced gum disease (periodontitis) occurs when the gums’ inner layer detaches from the teeth and forms pockets. Periodontitis is defined by the loss of bone supporting the teeth.The damage done due to periodontitis may be irreversible.

Who is at a higher risk of getting gum disease?

You may face a higher risk of gum disease if you:

  • Do not have good dental hygiene habits.
  • Use tobacco and tobacco products
  • Have crowded teeth, loose fillings or permanent dental appliances like bridges that are ill fitting
  • Have diabetes, arthritis, heart disease and immune system disorders like HIV and AIDS.
  • Have an immediate family member with a history of gum disease or early tooth loss.
  • Avoid taking regular dental check ups

Gum disease symptoms

  • Bleeding, swollen gums
  • Flaky deposits on teeth and discolored teeth
  • Loose teeth
  • Tendency to suck in food between teeth

DIAGNOSIS

What type of healthcare provider can help you?

A dentist can diagnose and treat early gingivitis. You may need to see a specialist called a periodontist for advanced gum disease or symptoms that do not respond to standard management. Periodontists are specialist dentists with extra training in treating complex gum disease.

How is periodontitis diagnosed?

How long can you keep your teeth with periodontal disease? The evaluation starts by learning about your medical history and if you have any risk factors for gum disease .Your dentist then assesses your gums for signs of inflammation. They may use an instrument (probe) to measure pockets around the teeth.

How will you know if you have gingivitis if you can’t feel the symptoms?

Dental providers check for signs of gum infections during a dental check-up. If your gums appear swollen or bleed easily, it may be due to gingivitis. For gum infection treatment your dentist will use a probe to check for pockets and an explorer to assess debris and calculus. Gingivitis does not affect the bone surrounding your teeth and therefore usually can’t be diagnosed from dental x-rays. Full mouth x-rays may be carried out to determine the amount and type of bone loss due to periodontitis.

MANAGEMENT

How is early-stage gum disease treated?

The best treatment for gingivitis is a professional cleaning. Your dentist detects and removes plaque and calculus and may give you a prescription mouth wash containing chlorhexidine for subsequent use. Once these substances are gone, your gums will heal on their own, and no other treatment is necessary. Your dentist will also review the tools and techniques you should carry out to be more effective at home at preventing gingivitis from recurring.

How is periodontitis treated?

Scaling and root debridement is a procedure to clear away plaque and calculus that has spread to the tooth’s root and affected the bone. In the early stages of periodontitis, if the bone is not affected, deep scaling and root debridement under local anesthesia will help to control the condition. However, in other cases, periodontists may need to rebuild the bone surrounding your teeth that was lost from the periodontal disease by a periodontal flap surgery procedure employing bone grafts. In extreme cases the tooth or teeth may need to be extracted.

What happens if your teeth fall out?

If you do end up losing teeth, there are options for rehabilitation of teeth that may be removable or fixed that can restore a natural-looking smile. Dental implants one of the most sought after options for tooth replacement and are devices that look and feel like teeth in that they can’t be removed. The procedure to insert them is relatively quick and painless.

PREVENTION

How can you prevent periodontal disease?

Steps you can take to prevent periodontal disease include:

  • Brushing your teeth twice daily employing a proper toothbrushing technique
  • Flossing to remove plaque deposits between the teeth
  • Using mouthwash to get rid of bacteria that may remain on your teeth after brushing.
  • Getting regular teeth cleaning and dental exams.
  • Quitting smoking and use of tobacco products

 PROGNOSIS

What is the outlook for people with periodontal disease?

The impact of periodontal disease on your dental and general health depends on the severity and the treatment you receive. Seeing a periodontist and following their specific instructions for your gum health gives you the best chances for good results in the long run. Your oral hygiene habits and presence of any systemic complications may also influence prognosis.

Can periodontal disease recur?

Even with successful treatment, periodontal disease can come back. This is why regular at home self-cleansing measures as well as maintenance checkups with the dentist is of prime significance. If you start noticing symptoms, like swollen or bleeding gums, it’s important to immediately visit your dentist or periodontist.

How To Care For Your Child’s Teeth: A Guide For Parents

Primary teeth also known as milk teeth or baby teeth begins to develop  while the baby is in the mothers womb. At birth, the baby has a full set of 20 primary teeth (10 in the upper jaw, 10 in the lower jaw) hidden under the gums. The milk tooth breaks through the gums and becomes eventually  visible in the mouth by 6 months of age. By  three years of age your child will have complete set of milk teeth in their mouth.

 Primary teeth plays an important role in the growth and development of the child. It is important for acquiring nutrition, proper development of speech and for maintaining the space for permanent teeth (adult teeth) that will eventually erupt. Early dental care is important for children since tooth decay can start as soon as the first tooth erupts into the oral cavity. The decay of tooth can cause pain and swelling which can affect the proper chewing of food, which in turn is important for acquiring proper nutrition.

Some basic steps to follow for infant oral care.

-Before bedtime and after the first feeding of the day, wipe your child’s gums with a soft, clean cloth or silicone finger sleeve twice a day.

-Once the teeth have erupted, begin brushing twice daily with water and a soft toothbrush with little bristles.

-To detect any issues, take your baby to the dentist by the time they turn one.

-When your child’s first tooth breaks, discuss with your dentist or physician the possibility of applying fluoride varnish to their teeth.

-Regular trips to the dentist

Dental health in children

 Around 20% of kids between the ages of 5 and 11 have at least one untreated decayed tooth. This is why it’s crucial to teach dental hygiene to children as early as possible. When your youngster is between the ages of 8 and 9, it’s time for them to take charge of their tooth-brushing responsibilities. 

A way to better health

The role of fluoride

Fluoride has been shown to reduce cavities in both adult (permanent) teeth and baby (primary) teeth.Fluoride is typically consumed by kids through the water. Your child might need to take an oral fluoride supplement if the water in your home lacks fluoride. To find out if your child requires this, consult your paediatric doctor. Too much fluoride can affect your child’s health and discolor their teeth. Make sure your child does not consume mouthwash or toothpaste containing fluoride.

How Can You Prevent Cavities in Your Child?

Cavities are the most common dental problem in children.If you teach your child the correct method of brushing and flossing the risk of developing cavities can be reduced.

Brushing and flossing

Children below 3 years of age

 Brush your childs teeth twice daily, using a soft child-sized toothbrush appropriate for their age. You could also mix in a tiny bit of fluoride-free toothpaste. You can switch to fluoride-containing toothpaste whenever your youngster is old enough to spit out the toothpaste. Use rice sized amount of fluoridated tooth paste for children below 3 years of age (smear layer). Ask your pediatric dentist to demonstrate the proper technique for brushing your child’s teeth.

Until they are 7 or 8 years old, your child will probably need assistance with tooth brushing. They can start using a larger-sized toothbrush at this point .Use pea sized amount of fluoridated tooth  paste for children above 3 years of age. Every three to six months or when the bristles start to look worn, replace the toothbrush. For 2 minutes, children should brush their teeth. Another essential component of your child’s dental hygiene routine is flossing. Introduce your child to daily flossing. To make flossing easier, you can purchase floss with a handle.

Role of diet .

 Kids who consume a lot of sugary foods and beverages also have a higher chance of developing cavities. It’s crucial to choose nutritious foods. Limit the amount of soda, fruit juice, and other sugary beverages your child consumes. Avoid eating or drinking anything sweet between meals. If your child does consume sweets, make sure they brush their teeth right away.

SAFETY MEASURES to be taken during contact sports

 Your youngster should wear a mouth guard if they participate in sports. This soft plastic retainer covers the lips and occasionally the teeth. It aids in preventing harm to your child’s mouth. If you require a mouth guard that is specially fitted, consult your dentist.

IS MY CHILD AT RISK OF DEVELOPING CAVITIES

Your child may be at risk for cavities if they:

-Have white spots or brown areas on their teeth.

-Have ongoing special health care needs.

-Do not go to the dentist often.

-Were born early (premature) or had a low birth weight.

WHAT IF THE CAVITIES ARE NOT TREATED

Untreated cavities might lead to tooth loss. It may harm a tooth’s nerve, resulting in an infection at the tip of the root which may need surgical treatment or extraction.Negligence can lead to loss of school days which in turn can affect the academic performance of the child. Children are often bullied in schools due to their unpleasant appearances which will affect the self esteem of the child

WHAT SHOULD BE DONE IF MY CHILD HAS ANY HABITS

Consult your paediatric dentist if your child have any of these habits:

Mouth breathing, tongue thrusting,thumb sucking, lip biting, lip chewing, digit sucking

Every parent is responsible for the overall dental health of their child. Taking proper care of their teeth through daily oral hygiene maintained and regular dental examinations can help them keep their beautiful and healthy smiles. In our country, most parents are not educated regarding the importance of paediatric dental care, which has in turn been the root cause for most of their dental problems . Knowing the path to better oral health can enable you to keep your kids healthy.Being one of the  best dental colleges in Kerala , PMS College of Dental Science and Research have all the facilities to give utmost care for all your child’s dental needs.