Adults Under 40

Gum Disease

Gum disease is an inflammation of the tissues that hold your teeth in place. If it is severe, it can destroy the tissue and bone, leading to tooth loss. Gum disease is caused by plaque,a sticky film of bacteria that constantly forms on the teeth. When plaque is not removed it can harden into calculus (tartar).Then tartar forms above and below the gumline, it becomes harder to brush and clean well between teeth. That buildup of plaque and tartar can harbor bacteria that lead to gum disease. The first stage of gum disease is called gingivitis which is the only stage that is reversible.If not treated, gingivitis may lead to a more serious, destructive form of gum/periodontal disease called periodontitis.

It is possible to have periodontal disease and have no warning signs. That is one reason why regular dental checkups and periodontal examinations are so important. Treatment methods depend upon the type of disease and how far the condition has progressed. Good oral hygiene at home is essential to help keep periodontal disease from becoming more serious or recurring. The IDA recommends that you brush twice a day, clean between your teeth daily, eat a balanced diet, and schedule regular dental visits for a lifetime of healthy smiles.

When you go for a check-up, your dentist may do a 'scale and polish'. Essentially, this is cleaning of your teeth where the dentist or hygienist will use a special tool to get rid of the hard build up of tartar (calculus)then follow up by giving the teeth a thorough polish. The dentist will probably concentrate on the areas just below the gum line, behind your teeth and in the gaps in between them, as these are the bits that we sometimes miss when we're brushing our teeth. The scale and polish will help fight against gum disease - although you still need to do your bit by brushing properly twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste.

The IDA recommends that you get a scaling and polishing done once in every six months for the rest of your life.

This ensures that you have optimum oral health for the rest of your life.When your dentist scales your teeth he also notices any sins of initial decay,etc which can be tackled before getting worse.

  • Hand Scalers

As the name suggest,these instruments are used manually by the dentist. These come in different sizes and shapes.This is so as  to reach different parts of your teeth. This is why you will see the hygienist changing instruments quite often.

  • Ultrasonic Scalers

These are routinely seen in most dental clinics nowadays .These use very fast ultrasonic vibration with water. The water is sucked out of your mouth by a suction tip. A hand scaler can then be used to check whether the teeth are completely clean.

Our gums, the tissue that surrounds the necks of the teeth, play a critical role in the health of the entire body. While they are often overlooked in regard to optimal wellness, many struggle with gum disease and related oral conditions.

No matter a person’s age, gum health is an important issue. An old man always said  as he reached in and removed his dentures, “Be true to your teeth, or they will be false to you.”

Here are some warning signs that can signal a problem:

  • Gums that bleed easily
  • Red, swollen, tender gums
  • Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
  • Persistent bad breath or bad taste
  • Permanent teeth that are loose or separating
  • Any change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
  • Any change in the fit of partial dentures.
  • As soon as you notice any such signs,or anything abnormal with your gums,please consult your dentist immediately.
  • The time to visit your dentist is NOW.

Under pressure and stress of everyday life, we often neglect the things most precious to us, our general and oral health. In addition to this what aggravates these problems are habits like smoking, drinking, conditions like pregnancy, diabetes, heart diseases etc.

The IDA recommends that you make a note of these factors which increase the risk of gum diseases and avoid them for optimum gum health.

Some factors increase the risk of developing gum disease.

They are:

  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Smoking or chewing tobacco
  • Genetics
  • Crooked teeth that are hard to keep clean
  • Pregnancy
  • Diabetes
  • Medications, including steroids, certain types of anti- epilepsy drugs, cancer therapy drugs, some calcium channel blockers and oral contraceptives.