The importance of dental hygiene
The importance of dental hygiene
- Sebastien Grynko
Haven’t we all heard since we were born, that we have to brush our teeth, at least twice a day for 2 to 3 minutes ?
The process of brushing your teeth is boring and trivial. We tend to forget and we don’t, we do it passively and oftentimes neglectfully. You have to do it everyday till you die. Unless you want to live without teeth which is kind of inconvenient.
The worst part about this, it will get more annoying. Brushing our teeth, no matter how dull, does not compare to flossing. Yes flossing is more of an inconvenience and you will need to add it to your routine at one point in your life. Trust me!
Brushing teeth does not require much effort. Flossing on the other hand, need a little of bit of finesse and some technique. Seven years ago I went to the dentist. I had not been to the dentist for an embarrassing long stretch of time.
I was worried that I might have some issues with my teeth. The doctor reassured me and told me that everything should be fine. After 10 minutes, the verdict had changed. Turned out I had early stages of periodontal diseases.
For those of you who have not been initiated to this cult. Periodontitis is a form of gum disease. What is periodontitis ?
“Periodontitis is inflammation of the gums and supporting structures of the teeth. It is one of the most common human diseases.
Early Periodontal Disease
Periodontitis is caused by certain bacteria (known as periodontal bacteria) and by the local inflammation triggered by those bacteria. Although these periodontal bacteria are naturally present in the mouth, they are only harmful when the conditions are right for them to increase dramatically in numbers. This happens when a layer of bacteria and food debris, known as plaque, builds up and is left undisturbed on the teeth, commonly in hard-to-reach areas such as between the teeth.
The more dangerous bacteria are able to thrive and multiply, producing some harmful by-products which stimulate the body’s defensive inflammatory response in the gums. As the disease progresses, chronic inflammation causes the bone of the jaw to be destroyed and the teeth to be lost. In many people, this is a gradual process that takes place over many years and, if detected and treated, can be halted. However, some young adults have a very active form of the disease which causes early loosening and loss of the teeth.”
I had never heard of this. My dentist also told me that, not only you can lose all your teeth, it can also lead to heart disease and other fun stuff like this.
I was freaked out. Those were my gums. I never thought they were so important for my survival.
There are a bunch of ways to reverse periodontitis depending on how advance your case is.
If periodontitis isn't advanced, treatment may involve less invasive procedures, including:
- Scaling. Scaling removes tartar and bacteria from your tooth surfaces and beneath your gums. It may be performed using instruments, a laser or an ultrasonic device.
- Root planing. Root planing smoothes the root surfaces, discouraging further buildup of tartar and bacteria, and removes bacterial byproducts that contribute to inflammation and delay healing or reattachment of the gum to the tooth surfaces.
- Antibiotics. Topical or oral antibiotics can help control bacterial infection. Topical antibiotics can include antibiotic mouth rinses or insertion of gels containing antibiotics in the space between your teeth and gums or into pockets after deep cleaning. However, oral antibiotics may be necessary to completely eliminate infection-causing bacteria.
If you have advanced periodontitis, treatment may require dental surgery, such as:
- Flap surgery (pocket reduction surgery). Your periodontist makes tiny incisions in your gum so that a section of gum tissue can be lifted back, exposing the roots for more effective scaling and root planing. Because periodontitis often causes bone loss, the underlying bone may be recontoured before the gum tissue is sutured back in place. After you heal, it's easier to clean these areas and maintain healthy gum tissue.
- Soft tissue grafts. When you lose gum tissue, your gumline recedes. You may need to have some of the damaged soft tissue reinforced. This is usually done by removing a small amount of tissue from the roof of your mouth (palate) or another donor source and attaching it to the affected site. This can help reduce further gum recession, cover exposed roots and give your teeth a more pleasing appearance.
- Bone grafting. This procedure is performed when periodontitis has destroyed the bone surrounding your tooth root. The graft may be composed of small fragments of your own bone, or the bone may be synthetic or donated. The bone graft helps prevent tooth loss by holding your tooth in place. It also serves as a platform for the regrowth of natural bone.
- Guided tissue regeneration. This allows the regrowth of bone that was destroyed by bacteria. In one approach, your dentist places a special piece of biocompatible fabric between existing bone and your tooth. The material prevents unwanted tissue from entering the healing area, allowing bone to grow back instead.
- Tissue-stimulating proteins. Another technique involves applying a special gel to a diseased tooth root. This gel contains the same proteins found in developing tooth enamel and stimulates the growth of healthy bone and tissue.
Thankfully I “only” had to go through the scaling. I thought I would be done for the rest of life, at that point. I was wrong. The number one thing you need to do with periodontitis is to prevent it. Therefore your daily dental hygiene has to be impeccable.
What are the steps to better dental hygiene ? I will list a bunch of videos for you to be clear on what to do and how to do it.
Here are things I have tried to help prevent gum disease. You will know you have early stages of gum diseases when your gums are bleeding easily. You don’t need to do everything I have listed aside from brushing your teeth, cleaning between your teeth and clearing your diet of sugar.
I have to add a few things. Everybody is different. What might work for some. Might not work for others. For me the water flossing is not enough. Staying away from sugar always help.
Using the tea tree oil helps alleviate some of the gum issues. Interdental brushes are far better than flossing when it comes to keeping your gums healthy. If you are already flossing with a thread. Try interdental brushes.
If you are not bleeding with the brushes. It means flossing was enough for you. If you are bleeding then you need to use the brushes because the flossing is not a good fit for you.
Guys we need to save ourselves time, money and energy. Dental bills can get expensive. A little bit of effort everyday goes a long a way. Take care of your mouth and your gums. Keep your beautiful smile forever.
- Sebastien Grynko