Archive for December 2012
Seven out of 10 Canadians will develop gum disease at some time in their lives. It is the most common dental problem, and it can progress quite painlessly until you have a real problem. That's why it is so important to prevent gum disease before it becomes serious. So what is Gum disease or Gingivitis?
Gingivitis is the medical term for early gum disease, or periodontal disease. In general, gum disease can be caused by long-term exposure to plaque, the sticky but colorless film on teeth that forms after eating or sleeping.
Gum disease originates in the gums, where infections form from harmful bacteria and other materials left behind from eating. Early warning signs include chronic bad breath, tender or painful swollen gums and minor bleeding after brushing or flossing. In many cases, however, gingivitis can go unnoticed. The infections can eventually cause the gums to separate from the teeth, creating even greater opportunities for infection and decay.
Although gum disease is the major cause of tooth loss in adults, in many cases it is avoidable.
If gingivitis goes untreated, more serious problems such as abscesses, bone loss orperiodontitis can occur.
Periodontitis is treated in a number of ways. One method, called root planing, involved cleaning and scraping below the gum line to smooth the roots. If effective, this procedure helps the gums reattach themselves to the tooth structure.
Pregnancy has also been known to cause a form of gingivitis. This has been linked to hormonal changes in the woman's body that promote plaque production
Both the Canadian Dental Association (CDA) and the American Dental Association (ADA) support the use of fluorides in dentistry as a safe and effective preventative measure against dental caries. Historically, fluoride as a decay preventative has been extensively researched for well over 50 years, and the research has been consistent in proving its safety and efficacy.
Humans ingest fluoride on a daily basis due to the fact that fluorides are found naturally in food and water and as an additive in public drinking water, toothpastes, and in oral prescriptions and rinses. So dentists must assess and account for these varied sources before considering any particular means of fluoride delivery to any individual, particularly children under the age of six, for whom over exposure can result in a condition of the teeth known as fluorosis.
Dental fluorosis is a change in the appearance of teeth and is caused when higher than optimal amounts of fluoride are ingested in early childhood while tooth enamel is forming. As long as the total daily intake of fluoride is maintained below specified levels, fluoride is a very important preventative measure in maintaining dental health of North Americans.
Both the CDA and ADA recognize the need to monitor the scientific literature with respect to levels of exposure to fluoride and general health to ensure the continued safe and effective use of fluorides in dentistry.
Fluoridated Toothpastes and Mouth Rinses
Both the American and Canadian Dental Associations acknowledge and support the use of fluoridated toothpastes and mouth rinses in the prevention of dental caries. The recommended usage of fluoridated toothpastes should be twice per day, with minimal rinsing of the mouth with water after brushing. In the case of children under 6 years of age, adult supervision during brushing is recommended, monitoring that only a small portion
Fluoride mouth rinses are an effective preventive measure for at risk individuals and should be used according to the specific needs of the individual. Fluoride mouth rinsing is not recommended for children under 6 years of age.
Dentist Delivered Fluoride Applications
The use of fluoride gels, foams and varnishes are recommended based on an assessment for risk for dental decay, history of dental decay, and consideration of facts such as whether the patient lives in community or area where the drinking water is not fluoridated.
Dietary fluoride supplements are available only by prescription in North America. They are intended for use by children living in non-fluoridated areas who are assessed as being at greater risk for dental decay. Supplementation, in these cases, are indicated in order to increase the level of fluoride exposure to levels similar to those of children living in optimally fluoridated areas.