WHAT IS PERIODONTAL (GUM) DISEASE?
Periodontal disease is the most common disease known to mankind and causes the loss of the majority of teeth. It has been associated with an increased risk of heart disease, low birth weights and prematurity and possibly rheumatoid arthritis. Smoking is a risk factor. If you are diabetic the risk of developing gum disease is 3 – 4 times that of a non-diabetic and 10 times higher if you smoke.
Gum disease is not a classic bacterial infection. It is the body’s reaction to toxins produced by bacteria in dental plaque. In other words, you can’t catch it from someone else but it can develop if left unattended.
The disease progresses when plaque remains due to an inadequate tooth brushing technique. Gums bleed on brushing (that is NEVER normal), there is loss of bone supporting the teeth, gums recede and spaces develop between the gum and the adjacent teeth. Calculus or tartar forms below the gum and over time forms down the root. More bone loss and pockets develop. The spaces under the teeth then enlarge, it is harder to remove all the plaque and so the cycle continues and leads to tooth loss unless treated by a dentist or hygienist. For diabetics, high blood sugar levels promote bone loss while the disease itself is associated with poor and delayed tissue healing. Teeth may start to become loose in their sockets.
Periodontal treatment can vary from relatively simple such as ultrasonic scaling below the gum to remove bacteria (biofilm) and calculus (tartar). Plus following an effective oral hygiene regime – to complex surgical and bone grafting procedures, or extractions.
The Chooseabrush™ concept allows you to identify the precise size of each interdental space where the gum has receded and use the ideal brush diameter. Studies have shown that the pattern of interdental brush diameter is unique to each individual. It follows that using only one or two brush diameters will not control plaque effectively and can create a false sense of care. Do not be surprised if you need several different sizes as the picture of a real patient shows.
Whatever treatment is recommended the most important prognostic factor is how well you control your plaque on a daily basis. Since flossing has been found to be ineffective, efficient interdental plaque control with the correct brush diameter using the Chooseabrush™ programme is a significant step forward in periodontal disease control and your dental health.