In Case Of An Emergency: Tooth Care While On Vacation

When you’re browsing through travel Web sites, dental care probably isn’t the first thing on your mind.

In Case Of An Emergency: Tooth Care While On Vacation

When you’re browsing through travel Web sites, dental care probably isn’t the first thing on your mind. It will be, though, if you end up with tooth pain that keeps you from enjoying the vacation you spent all that time and money arranging. A painful toothache or other dental emergency far from home and your regular dentist can be a traveler’s nightmare.Dental problems can ruin a vacation fast.  Any dental emergency like an injury to the teeth or gums can be potentially serious and should not be ignored. Ignoring a dental problem can increase the risk of permanent damage as well as the need for more extensive and expensive treatment later on. Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Know Before You Go. Before you leave, get a routine check-up and have your teeth cleaned. If you’re planning on flying within a few days after a dentist appointment, let your dentist know so they don’t perform any procedures that could make your teeth sensitive to air pressure changes.

Toothaches. Toothaches can range from a distressing inconvenience to an intense, miserable experience. Severe, emergency dental pain may be as unrelenting as kidney stones or even labor contractions. Fortunately, the chance of an unforeseen dental crisis can usually be prevented by early detection and treatment of dental disease. When dental disaster does strike, (and it always seems to be at the most inopportune time) knowing how to alleviate the pain is invaluable information everyone can use.

A toothache is any pain or soreness within or around a tooth, indicating inflammation and possible infection. Generally, a toothache occurs if tooth decay is very close to or has penetrated the pulp chamber that contains nerves and tiny blood vessels. Ideally, it’s best to undergo dental treatment at once.

First, thoroughly rinse your mouth with warm water. Use dental floss to remove any lodged food. If your mouth is swollen, apply a cold compress to the outside of your mouth or cheek. There are many over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers to cure toothaches that you can choose from. Most common are paracetamol, aspirin, and acetaminophen. If you feel that a small swelling has occurred, you may take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) for their inflammatory components, like ibuprofen, (Advil, Aleve) and mefenamic acid. However, those with a history of ulcers as well as pregnant women need a doctor’s recommendation before taking NSAID and aspirin.  Rubbing aspirin on your gums to numb an aching tooth isn’t a good idea. In fact, it’ll do more harm than good.  Aspirin contains salicylic acid, which can burn and damage gum tissue. For general pain relief, it’s a better idea to simply swallow the aspirin. Or stop by a pharmacy for pain-relieving gels like Anbesol or Orajel.

Other home remedies for a toothache include rinsing your mouth with salt water or dabbing some clove oil directly on the bad tooth. Clove oil has bacteria-slaying properties, along with a remarkable numbing effect. “We’ve used clove oil in dentistry for years,” says Dr. Tischler. “Years ago, we would dab clove oil over a tooth before putting a filling in it, but now we have better ways of decreasing the sensitivity.”

For another home remedy, there is numbing power in cooled peppermint tea. Swish, and then swallow if you like the flavor. People can try putting some ice on the area, but the temperature of the ice could send them over the edge.  Most challenging are toothaches that stem from inside a tooth. But in cases where a lost filling or a broken tooth is causing the pain, “caulking” the sore tooth with softened chewing gum can ease the pain – covering the sensitive area until it can be repaired.

Chipped or Broken Teeth. Save any pieces. Rinse the mouth using warm water; rinse any broken pieces. If there’s bleeding, apply a piece of gauze to the area for about 10 minutes or until the bleeding stops. Apply a cold compress to the outside of the mouth, cheek, or lip near the broken/chipped tooth to keep any swelling down and relieve pain.

Canker Sores.  People with frequent canker sores check to see if their toothpaste contains sodium lauryl sulfate, or SLS. SLS is a foaming agent that in some studies has been linked to the development of canker sores.  Toothpaste that doesn’t contain SLS usually makes a big deal about it by saying ‘SLS free’ on its label.

An additional remedy for both canker sores and gum pain is tea tree oil. Tea tree oil should be applied directly to the infected site and can even be purchased in mouthwash form to soothe inflammation. Another preventive measure for canker sores is to avoid eating chips and other jagged foods that can cause tiny cuts and scrapes, which can be an entryway for a virus to set up shop in your mouth. Besides that, stay away from foods that trigger canker sores. Potential troublemakers include whole wheat, rye, barley, shellfish, pineapple, chocolate and tomatoes, as well as salty or citrus fruits.

Gum Problems: Bleeding, Swollen, and Sore Gums. According to the World Health Organization, reports showed that 85% of adults in the U.S. have a type of gum disease and most are not aware of it. Various symptoms of gum disease include: swollen, red, tender, bleeding or receding gums; sensitive teeth; obvious plaque, tartar or calculus; persistent bad breath; spaces developing between teeth; or loose or mobile teeth. Bad breath, also known as halitosis, is another common symptom. These symptoms occur because the body’s immune system is responding to an infection caused by bacteria in the gums. People usually ignore the symptoms or don’t take them too seriously, since they probably cannot see the infected regions of the gums.

Ginseng can be used to alleviate the pain associated with irritated gum tissue. A ginseng tonic can be directly applied to the gum to promote circulation and speed healing. An additional home remedy suggestion is to use a wet tea bag for tooth or gum pain. Tea contains astringent tannins, which have the power to shrink swollen tissue and stop bleeding.

 

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The Science of Dentistry

This site is dedicated to provide consumers and dental professionals with the latest technology, research, procedures and products available in the field of dentistry.


Saving A Lost Tooth Resulting From An Accident

Teeth Knocked Out

Accidents can result in nothing more than a chipped tooth or can cause severe head trauma. Luckily, few dental injuries are true emergencies — but it is important to note that all dental injuries require professional care. The first step is to determine the extent of injury and then to take appropriate action. Parents, teachers, coaches, and school nurses should all be aware of the kinds of dental injuries that call for immediate attention.

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Saving A Lost Tooth Resulting From An Accident

A tooth that is knocked out of a person’s mouth is called an avulsed tooth. Time is of the essence in this situation, re-implanting the tooth as quickly as possible allows the best chance of the tooth being re-accepted and therefore complete healing. Certain other steps can make re-implantation more likely.

Saving A Lost Tooth Resulting From An Accident

Teeth Knocked Out

Accidents can result in nothing more than a chipped tooth or can cause severe head trauma. Luckily, few dental injuries are true emergencies — but it is important to note that all dental injuries require professional care. The first step is to determine the extent of injury and then to take appropriate action. Parents, teachers, coaches, and school nurses should all be aware of the kinds of dental injuries that call for immediate attention.

A tooth that is knocked out of a person’s mouth is called an avulsed tooth. Time is of the essence in this situation, re-implanting the tooth as quickly as possible allows the best chance of the tooth being re-accepted and therefore complete healing. Certain other steps can make re-implantation more likely.

Responding to a “Lost” Tooth

First things first: If a lost tooth is truly missing, it’s important to locate the tooth right away. If you didn’t witness the accident, try to find out when and exactly where it happened. These details are important because a tooth that has been out of the mouth for less than 30 minutes has the best chance for re-implanting. A tooth that might be at the bottom of a swimming pool has a better outlook than one that has landed in a puddle of oil or gasoline from a car accident.

Once the tooth has been located, use nothing other than cold water to carefully remove any dirt or debris. Simply run or pour the water over the tooth — do not touch the root or scrub any part of the tooth, and do not use soap or other cleansers. If no running water is available, you can put the tooth in your mouth and gently suck it clean. Then delicately place the tooth back into the injured person’s empty socket and have them hold it in place until they reach the dental office.

Handling the Isolated Avulsed Tooth

Sometimes a lost tooth cannot be immediately reinserted into the socket for some reason (for example, if the injured person is unconscious and may be in danger of choking on or swallowing the tooth). In this instance, the tooth must be transported to the dental office or hospital in a moist environment via a separate container. The success of re-implantation depends on keeping special ligament cells on the root’s surface moist and alive — if these cells dry out, they will die and the tooth will not be accepted back into the gums.

Cold milk is one of the best liquids in which to (temporarily) store an avulsed tooth; sterile saline solution is another excellent option. Placing the tooth in the injured person’s mouth, bathed in his or her own saliva, is actually a second choice, but still better than allowing the tooth to dry out. Wrapping the tooth in plastic wrap to seal in moisture is a third choice.

Following Re-implantation

If the right steps are taken, chances of a successful re-implantation are good. After the procedure, there is the possibility of infection, so a short course of antibiotics is usually prescribed. Even with the best response, however, a lost tooth may still be rejected by the body down the road. If there had been any damage to the ligament cells, the body may begin to wear away the root surface, gradually destroying it (this is called “root resorption”) and causing loss of the tooth. To monitor for this condition, the patient should follow up with their dentist for at least five years following re-implantation of a lost tooth.

A re-implanted tooth may also eventually be damaged by a process called ankylosis. This condition causes the root of the tooth to actually fuse to the supporting jawbone beneath it, without any healthy ligament in between. Ankylosis can also lead to resorption and tooth loss.

Always Give it a Try

It would have been nice for Ryan to save the ball game and his tooth. In summary, quickly locate a lost tooth after the accident, rinse the tooth with ice water, and gently re-implant it if you can, on the way to the local dental office or hospital. Making a call to the dentist or hospital en route ensures that the doctor can meet you there, thereby creating the best possible situation.

4 Things to Remember for Accidents Resulting in Tooth Loss:

  1. Quickly locate the lost tooth after the accident
  2. Rinse the tooth with sterile water, saline or milk
  3. If possible gently “reimplant” the tooth into its socket before rushing to the local dental office or hospital
  4. Making a call to the dentist or hospital en route ensures that the doctor will be there and ready for you and treat you immediately

in less than ideal situations, tooth re-implantation can work and should always be attempted. Saving a natural tooth is definitely the treatment of choice.

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Why Human’s Don’t Continuously Replace Their Teeth

Prickly pufferfish could hold the key to why humans do not continually replace their teeth and may lead to advances in dental therapies.

Why Human’s Don’t Continuously Replace Their Teeth

Prickly Pufferfish

Prickly pufferfish could hold the key to why humans do not continually replace their teeth and may lead to advances in dental therapies.

New research focusing on tooth development in the deadly fish -unchanged through evolution — shows that after the first generation of teeth the program for continued tooth replacement modifies to form a distinctive and unusual `parrot like´ beak.

The study, which is the first time scientists have analysed the development of the fish´s unique beak, also supports the idea that evolution doesn´t make jumps, as its distinctive bite has been modified from a set of genes responsible for tooth development and preserved over 400 million years.

Dr Gareth Fraser of the University of Sheffield´s Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, who led the project, said: “It goes beyond fishes and even morphological novelty; we can use the pufferfish beak as a model for a simplified tooth replacement system — composed of just four continually replacing teeth that make up the beak structure. It is of great interest for science to understand the process of tooth replacement, to understand the genes that govern the continued supply of teeth and mechanisms of dental stem cell maintenance.

“As humans only replace their teeth once, fishes and pufferfish in particular, can be looked at as a new model to help us to answer questions like how continuous tooth replacement programmes are maintained throughout life? This would help our understanding of why humans have lost this replacement potential, and furthermore how can we use knowledge of the genetic underpinnings of tooth replacement in fishes to facilitate advances in dental therapies.”

Pufferfish are bony fish, which are extremely diverse and make up almost half of all living vertebrates. This group uses a highly conserved process to form a unique beak-like jaw that has made teeth in all vertebrates — animals with spines — for millions of years.

The research catalogued the dental development throughout all stages of the pufferfish´s growth, from the production of initial-teeth to the construction of its distinctive `beak´. The research showed that the strange structure didn´t appear from scratch during embryonic development as a complete vertebrate novelty, but rather originates from the modified development of replacement teeth after the formation of an initial dentition, which appears like `normal´ fish teeth.

Dr Fraser added: “The beak structure is made from many bands of dentine, stacked together, each band represents a new replacement `tooth´, and they can have more than seven separate bands making up the beak, with new bands continuously being formed to replace those damaged by eating.

“Only after the start of the tooth replacement programme in just four of these first-generation teeth does this novel and bizarre beak-like structure appear. It is an example of re-specification of its genetic tool-kit for tooth development toward a very alternative, and unique, dentition.

Pufferfishes are the most bizarre of the bony fishes and have recently become a useful genetic model with the pufferfish genome project near completion. It is hoped it will provide a valuable model system for genetics, genomics, biomedical sciences and now development, not to mention the importance of this group to our understanding of the evolution of morphological novelty and vertebrate diversity.

The paper was carried out in collaboration with the Natural History Museum, London and King´s College London.

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How Women’s Hormones Affect Gum Disease

Gum disease is inflammation and a chronic low-grade infection. We go to the doctor for other infections, but we tend to ignore gum disease.

How Women’s Hormones Affect Gum Disease

Pregnancy Gum Disease

If you’re a pregnant woman dealing with morning sickness or a menopausal woman suffering through hot flashes, your gums are probably the last thing on your mind. However, dentists say women need to pay special attention to oral health care or risk health complications.Changes in hormone levels during many phases of a woman’s life — starting with puberty and menstruation right through to pregnancy and menopause — can affect how her gums react to plaque, dentists say.

Gum disease is inflammation and a chronic low-grade infection. We go to the doctor for other infections, but we tend to ignore gum disease.

Bleeding of the gums can cause bacteria to enter the bloodstream, which can affect issues from heart disease to pulmonary problems and even Alzheimer’s disease.

Your mouth is a passageway to the rest of your body, but we really ignore it and abuse it.   Taking care of your mouth is a really cost-effective way to avoid health problems.

The symptoms of gum disease include red, swollen, tender or bleeding gums, but it’s possible to have gum disease and not know it.

Periodontal disease is really a silent disease, but it’s the No. 1 cause of tooth loss. It doesn’t always cause pain and discomfort, but if you brush and your gums bleed, that’s a sign of unhealthy gums. It also can cause the bone around the tooth to run away and you form a pocket where the toothbrush can’t get in.

There is much research on the risk for heart disease and other types of cardiovascular disease when gum disease is present. It can lead to endocarditis, or inflammation of the heart chamber and valves, which can be fatal.

The good news is that many of the potential problems can be prevented with good oral health. Regular brushing and flossing as well as trips to the dentist for teeth cleaning are essential to good oral health for anyone, especially women.

A really important time for good oral health is pregnancy.

Hormone levels during pregnancy can cause the gums to become inflamed and you can get pregnancy gingivitis.  Make sure you brush and floss regularly. Rinse your mouth with baking soda to remove acid. Chew gum with xylitol (a sugar substitute made from sugar alcohol), which can decrease bacteria that causes periodontal disease.

Women may also consider seeing their dentist every three months during pregnancy, and some insurance companies will pay for more frequent visits, dentists said. If dental work is needed that cannot be postponed until after the birth, the second trimester is the preferred time to do it.

Once baby is born, moms can pass disease-causing bacteria to their babies, too, so avoid cleaning spoons or pacifiers by licking them with your tongue.

Throughout the reproductive years, some women might find their gums swell or bleed before their periods. In menopause, women might experience red spots or lesions on the tongue called geographic tongue or they may feel a burning or scalding sensation in their mouth, known as burning mouth syndrome. This occurs most often in middle-aged and older women, perhaps due to fluctuating hormones.

Osteoporosis is often a concern that women have as they age and many are taking bisphosphonates — recognizable by the brand names Fosamax, Boniva or Actonel — to prevent and treat bone loss. However, dentists are becoming concerned about a dental side effect that people might not realize.

These drugs affect bone healing and it’s a very serious issue because people are losing parts of their jaws. The name of the condition is called osteonecrosis of the jaw, which is a disfiguring breakdown of the jaw bone.

If patients on these medications eventually need dental work, such as a tooth extraction, dentists might be hesitant to do it for fear the bone won’t heal.

The problems usually arise when the bisphosphonates are given in high doses, particularly intravenously, dentists said. However, the medications have not been used long enough to really know how risky long-term use might be, they said.

These drugs have huge plusses to them, but there needs to be more awareness among the medical community, the dental community and patients who need to understand the risks so the benefits can be weighed. Should these drugs be prescribed prohibitively when maybe diet or weight-bearing exercise can help instead?

One Response to “How Women’s Hormones Affect Gum Disease”

  1. We had a patient in today who was complaining of poor oral hygiene after child birth, deserves quality research.

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Bill Of Rights: Your Rights As A Dental Patient

I have quickly learned during my 8 years in private practice, that while I might be the expert on matters of clinical periodontics and dental implants, my patients were the experts on themselves. I could not get that distinction confused.

Bill Of Rights: Your Rights As A Dental Patient

Patients Bill of Rights

I have quickly learned during my 8 years in private practice, that while I might be the expert on matters of clinical periodontics and dental implants, my patients were the experts on themselves. I could not get that distinction confused.As I have matured as a periodontist and as a person, I have given a lot of consideration to the obligations I have to my patients and what is fair to ask of them in return.

Essentially, the dentist and his or her patient must be in agreement about what each party owes the other. These are what I consider to be your rights with an equally important set of obligations.

Bill of Rights — Your Rights as a Dental Patient

1)  You have a right to have complete information about your condition conveyed in words and concepts you can understand. Dentists have a language all their own but most “normal” people don’t talk that way. When you are unsure or unclear, insist that your dentist explain things to you using everyday words. Hint: Sometimes staff members can be helpful here.

2)  You have a right to be presented with all reasonable options, each with its implications and risks. You can’t make an informed choice unless you know what options are possible, what your dentist recommends and why he or she is making that recommendation.  At times your dentist will have a clinical preference and you should understand why he or she thinks this would give you a better clinical outcome. That doesn’t mean he or she would not consider an alternative treatment, however.  In order to make an informed choice, you must also be in a position to reject other possible approaches to your care. While there are times when only one option is reasonable, you have a right to know when other options exist.

3)  You have a right to seek a second opinion (or more) any time you want additional information from another source. Second opinions are perfectly reasonable and you should not be afraid of insulting your dentist by seeking one. Professionals are used to conferring with one another and several heads are often better than one.

4)  You have a right to understand the fees you will be expected to pay and how you will be expected to pay them. In this area, there should be few, if any, surprises. While treatments can change due to changing conditions and new information, you should always be informed when this is the case so you can authorize a new procedure or approach. You should know how these treatment changes would impact fees.

5)  You have a right to be seen and be treated on time — within reason. While unexpected events with a previous patient can occasionally cause delays, these should not be regular events.

6)  You have a right to be informed of your progress and any changes that are required once you have embarked on a course of treatment. There are no guarantees in dentistry or medicine. Your dentist may offer a preliminary course of treatment that may not accomplish everything that was hoped for. Be prepared to move to more comprehensive or aggressive next steps when the desired outcome has not been achieved.

7)  You have a right to a complete commitment to comfort. Once your dentist has evaluated and assessed the cause or source of your pain, then treatment should proceed comfortably under almost all circumstances. Modern dentistry has many tools to ensure your comfort during and after dental procedures. Do not be afraid to ask for them.

8)  You have a right to be treated with respect at all times. This includes the privacy and security of your records and the privacy of your discussions with the dentist and staff members.
Cleanliness and sterility go without saying. This is a non-negotiable standard.

Bill of Rights — Your Obligations as a Dental Patient

1)  You have an obligation to be truthful with your dentist at all times. What you don’t reveal he or she cannot know. Do not withhold information especially about your medical and health status, and medications you are taking as this could hurt you. Don’t assume that a medical condition does not affect a dental condition or treatment. Do not withhold your opinions and feelings — negative as well as positive. Dentists want you to be happy. If you don’t tell them you are displeased, they can’t take measures to correct that.

2)  You have an obligation to show up on time as agreed. If you make an appointment, keep it. Ask the same in return.

3)  You have an obligation to pay as agreed. Do not agree to treatment you cannot afford. Dentists have a right to be paid a fair fee for their efforts. Budget and plan wisely.

4)  You have an obligation to treat your dentist and his or her staff with respect and be a pleasant person at all times. Trust and respect are reciprocal. You can disagree without being disagreeable. This is fair to everyone.

I probably don’t know your dentist personally. Yet I am certain he or she chose dentistry as a profession at least partly out of a genuine desire to help others; to use the means created by modern medical science to enhance well-being. In other words, you and your dentist have the same goal: to keep you healthy and happy. You can use this bill of rights to lay the foundation for the type of trusting, respectful relationship that can make that happen.

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MythBusters: Dentistry

Horror stories and dental related myths are among the leading reasons for which people avoid going to the dentist.

MythBusters: Dentistry

MythBusters: Dentistry

Horror stories and dental related myths are among the leading reasons for which people avoid going to the dentist. A patient hears from a friend that (X) dentist does not do good work, that he or she had a tooth extracted and even now after six months they fight with a terrible infection.  Of course, there are good professionals and bad professionals, but such stories are not universally applicable.

Here are some myths and how they are debunked:

Dentists do not like working on people with dental phobias

This is not true. Many dentists get special training on how to help the patient relax so that the treatment can be performed without problems. Moreover, there are certain dentists who have received certification in sedation dentistry, which helps patients with severe dental phobia relax and get sedated for the procedure. Sedation dentistry allows patients to not feel the procedure as well as causing them not to remember anything from the procedure.

The dentist is going to be perplexed by the state of my teeth

Relax, dentists have seen much worse oral health conditions than yours. The job of the dentist is to diagnose and treat your dental health complication. The are not at all interested if you have 7 cavities and 6 missing teeth.

The injection that patients receive in their gums before the procedure is excruciatingly painful.

Not true, again. The dentist is most probably going to use a numbing spray or topical gel to numb your gums prior to the injection. Therefore, you will not feel anything at all.

Regular checkups are not important, as long as my teeth look good.

Again, not true because the dentist might discover some underlying conditions such as gum disease. If treated in its early stage, gum disease can be reversed completely.

On the other hand, if you wait until the disease progresses, you risk tooth loss or other infections throughout your system.

Moreover, going for regular oral cancer screenings is also extremely important. Dentists can discover a number of oral malignancies and if found early the mortality rate decreases substantially.

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TUNG Brush – Newest Device To Fight Bad Breath

According to clinical research, one of the leading causes of bad breath are the odor-causing bacteria that hide on your tongue amidst the vast tiny crevices, nooks & crannies and taste buds.

TUNG Brush – Newest Device To Fight Bad Breath

TUNG Brush

According to clinical research, one of the leading causes of bad breath are the odor-causing bacteria that hide on your tongue amidst the vast tiny crevices, nooks & crannies and taste buds. Well, since there are dedicated brushes for cleaning all other parts of the body, the tongue finally has one too, the TUNG Brush!The TUNG Brush was designed to be the perfect brush to use on your tongue to effectively remove nasty bacteria and disgusting “tongue gunk”. It uses short and soft bristles on a wider circular shaped head to out perform other types of brushes & scrapers, prevent gagging and achieve greater coverage. It also has a uniquely shaded handle that fits in your hand perfectly and helps you to reach all areas of your tongue, including the back of it where the most vile of this bacteria hides. You can use toothpaste if you would like or you can use Tung Gel, which works better than standard toothpaste because it also helps loosen plaque from the tongue and uses Zinc to neutralize bad breath.

In addition to regular dental checkups, proper brushing, flossing and rinsing, this really is a cool new weapon to have in your arsenal against bad breath

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Misconceptions About Periodontal Disease

Let’s talk about periodontal disease, the truth and the misconceptions.

Misconceptions About Periodontal Disease

Chronic Periodontits

Let’s talk about periodontal disease, the truth and the misconceptions.  Here’s a misconception. You or your dentist missed something, so as a result, you now have a disease. Could that be true? Only if you believe that people get heart attacks because their doctors miss something or people get cancer because their doctors miss something, or asthma or Alzheimer’s, etc.The fact is periodontal disease falls into a class of diseases known as chronic degenerative disease. Chronic means that it’s continuing. Degenerative means that it’s breaking down something. And that’s what’s happening. The critical attachment fibers between your teeth and your bone are breaking down.

Here are some of the factors that cause periodontal disease.

• Bacterial plaque: That’s the soft bacteria that grows on teeth. It’s there whether we eat or not. And it needs to be removed at least once every 24 hours. That’s your job and the better that you do your job, the better the control of this factor of the disease

• Calculus: That’s hardened plaque that migrates below the gum line. It’s rough and accumulates more plaque, causing more loss of bone support. Why? The bone doesn’t want to be anywhere near the plaque and calculus. Calculus can be removed only by a dentist or dental hygienist.

• Bad diet: There are so many bad foods that we eat. They are associated with all of the chronic degenerative diseases. The best part of our diets are a large variety of fresh fruits and fresh vegetables. The larger the variety, the better. The World Health Organization states flatly that 85 percent of cancers can be avoided and half are caused by nutritional deficiencies. Five to 9 or more servings of fruits and vegetables are the standard way to protect yourself from any chronic degenerative disease, including periodontal disease.

• Genetics: People are genetically predisposed to certain diseases. But genetic predisposition does not mean genetic expression. If you do good things for yourself, you likely won’t get the disease.

• Smoking: Yes, we do see that more smokers have periodontal disease than nonsmokers by a wide margin. A recent study shows that the most periodontally damaging bacteria flourish in the mouth of a smoker.

So you see, it isn’t just one factor that causes periodontal disease and therefore the best treatment for the disease addresses all of the above factors.

There also are times when a laboratory study of your bacteria is necessary because periodontal disease can be caused by one or a combination of 11 types of bacteria. Identification of the bacteria gives you a chance to have the right antibiotic to kill that bacteria. We don’t usually need or use antibiotics, but if the disease remains uncontrolled after treatment, then that laboratory study in invaluable.

With the right combination of diagnosis, coaching, professional instrumentation and diet, you, too, can save your teeth. The earlier you do it, the better the opportunity.

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