One of the earliest signs of Periodontal disease is red or bleeding gingival tissue (gums). If this is allowed to continue it may lead to Periodontitis. Periodontitis is the loss of bone and supportive structures around the teeth. Most adult teeth are lost due to Periodontal break down. It is important to keep gum tissues healthy to prevent this breakdown from occurring. Once bone is lost there is little we can do to get it back; it also becomes more difficult to properly clean because of the craters that form between and around the teeth and under the gums. When we do an exam we measure these to determine if they are present, how deep they are, and are they worse than the last time we measured them. Once we know there is a problem there are treatments available to help stop the bone loss. We cannot regenerate bone.
The first step in preventing breakdown is to properly brush and floss. If the teeth and gums are kept clean there will be little if any chance of developing gingivitis. It is necessary to brush and floss morning and night. If any bleeding is noticed it is an indication that you need to brush and floss more often and more thoroughly and that you may need to have your teeth cleaned.
If calculus or tartar, the hard deposit that builds up on teeth, if left it too can cause gingivitis. It acts much like a piece of sandpaper would if it were wrapped around the tooth. This causes irritation by its roughness and the bacteria that are left in its irregularities. It is necessary to have this removed by a dentist or dental hygienist. It is impossible to remove this by brushing or flossing. It is possible, however, to prevent its formation by careful cleaning every day if the teeth are first professionally cleaned. Most patients need to get their teeth cleaned every 6 months. A few patients will need cleaning more often. If the calculus is left it will cause gingivitis.
For severe or persistent cases of bleeding a mouth rinse became available in January 1987 that will help. It is a prescription drug called Peridex. Peridex is a 0.12% solution of Chlorhexidine that controls some bacteria found in the mouth. It has been available in Canada and Europe for years has proven to be very beneficial. It has few side effects. It should not be used by anyone allergic to Chlorhexidine. It may cause staining of teeth and an increase in calculus formation. It also has a lingering after taste that may change taste perception.
You should rinse with 1/2 fl. oz. morning and night after brushing and flossing unless otherwise directed. Back to newsletter index