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Dental Fitness


Stick To Your Gums

So you thought those check-ups by the dentist are just about maintaining oral health. They could be doing more than that. They could be saving your life. A number of studies have shown a statistical link between gum disease and health problems like heart disease, stroke and - in the case of women - having premature babies.

Although the nature of the relationship between gum disease and the other conditions is as yet unclear, the results of these studies certainly give people an added incentive to see their dentists to make sure their gums are in the pink of health. Just in case. Not that any additional incentive is needed. Gum disease creates enough havoc in the mouth alone.

If you do not wish to see your teeth falling out before their time, you need to watch out for it. It is more common than many people realise. Many people are indifferent about keeping their gums healthy until the consequences creep up on them. That is why it has often been described as a "sneaky" disease. 

Signs Of Gum Disease

Usually, the first signs that something is wrong are red and swollen gums that bleed easily during brushing or flossing. If the toothpaste turns pink during brushing, please see your dentist. This inflammation of the gums is known as gingivitis, and is the first stage of gum disease. At this stage; the situation can still be reversed with a dentist's help, and through careful brushing and flossing at home.

But if neglected, the disease can progress to a stage when the attachment fibres and supporting bone holding your teeth in your mouth begin to break down. At this stage, called periodontitis, the gums start separating from the teeth, and the teeth can become so loose that they have to be removed. Periodontitis is generally not reversible.

Tooth Loss

Gum disease is the main cause of tooth loss in adults - not ageing alone - as many people think The culprit that has caused all this damage is dental plaque, a sticky film of bacteria, saliva and food debris that constantly forms on teeth. It tends to build up around the gum margins. If dental plaque is not removed through brushing and flossing, the gums will get irritated by toxins produced by the bacteria in the plaque, and become inflamed and tender.

If you have uncontrolled diabetes, or are pregnant, a smoker or on long-term medication, you should be especially watchful, as these conditions may increase your risk of developing gum disease.

Preventing Gum Disease

It is not difficult to keep gum disease at bay. You just have to do the following religiously:

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day, and floss at least once a day. You have to learn how to do it correctly so that plaque is removed effectively
  • Visit your dentist regularly.

Many people do not visit their dentists regularly. The Adult Oral Health Survey 2003 found that only 46 per cent of the people surveyed saw their dentists at least once a year. People often think that they do not need to visit the dentist unless they experience pain or discomfort in their mouths.

This is not true, said experts. Some dental problems, such as tooth decay and gum disease, may be painless in their early stages. Therefore, regular visits are important to allow the dentist to pick up dental problems early and prevent or manage them before they worsen.

It is important to take care of your teeth and gums. Neglected or untreated dental disease can lead to mane serious problems. Here arc some of the common dental and oral diseases:

Gum Disease

Gum Disease attacks the tissues supporting our teeth and can lead to tooth loss. It is caused be a sticky, invisible layer of bacteria Accumulated on unclean teeth and around gum margins. This is called dental plague. If dental plague is not removed by brushing, it will harden and form tartar.

Bacteria from the plague causes the gums to be inflamed. Gradually, the tissues and bone, supporting the teeth will also be destroyed. The teeth become loose and may fall out by themselves or have to be extracted.

The Following Are Signs Of Poor Gum Health:

  • Bleeding and swollen gums
  • Spaces beginning to appear between teeth
  • Bad breath
  • Longer-looking teeth due to shrinking gums
  • Loosening of teeth
  • Discomfort like itchiness or dull ache of the gums

Damage by gum disease cannot be reversed, but it can be controlled and presented with good mouth hygiene. Daily flossing and brushing will ensure less plaque accumulating. Tartar should be removed by a dentist.

Dental Decay

Dental decay causes cavities, or holes, to form in teeth and can result in toothache. It is again caused by bacteria in dental plaque which break down food remnants in the mouth to form acids which then attack the teeth to form cavities.

Dental decay first appears as white, brown or black discoloration. Although not all discolored areas are due to decay, it is always better to have them checked by a dentist. After some time, there may be discomfort when when drinking hot or cold drink, or eating sweet and sour foods.

Cavities sometimes be seen or they may develop in places we cannot sec, for example in between teeth. Advanced decay will result in toothache. Unfortunately, dental decay is often recognised only at this late stage,

 

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