I was just reading about a study done in 1989. It was a small study and perhaps not statistically significant. But it appears that even back then they were suspecting that that there was a link between periodontal disease and the possibility of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s as you get older.
The health of the mouth appears to be tied to so many aspects of health. It seems like researchers are discovering some new connections to gum disease and all kinds of ‘more severe’ health ailments every month or so. The big one I’ve been hearing about lately is the cancer of various regions of the head being possibly linked to gum disease.
Gum disease generally starts out as a minor condition called gingivitis. Gingivitis may involve some slight bleeding of the gums upon brushing or flossing. Here is where many people get lost. Because many people think that a little bit of blood from the gums or teeth when flossing or brushing is normal. That is completely false. Normal gum tissue does not bleed when flossed or brushed (in a normal manner). If you are seeing ANY bleeding at all, it should trigger a warning bell for you.
However, do not fall into the trap of believing that if you are seeing no bleeding at all, that you are safe. That is far from the truth as well.
There are very few truly objective ways to determine if you have gum disease or not. Just looking doesn’t always cut it. Periodontal probing, where the practitioner will use a metal device to measure the extent of separation of the gum to the tooth is an established, objective way to tell. Generally speaking, any pocket depth beyond 3mm indicates a problem.
Another tell tale sign for you is that your gums should not hurt at all when the probing is done. If you feel like someone is pushing pins into your gums that very well may indicate that you have a real problem. When my gums were disease, they hurt like that when probed. When they became healthy, that probing did not bother my gums one bit. There should not be any pain when your gums are poked or prodded.
What you want to do is ask for them to write your measurements down for you. Then you work on improving your home care. One device that has been clinically shown to reduce plaque build up between office visits is the hydrofloss oral irrigator. This is the device that allowed me to escape a Scaling and Root Planing treatment, otherwise known as a SRP.
You see, your only viable long term option is to improve your home care. You can only see the dentist or periodontist every so often. But fighting plaque buildup and fighting gum disease is a daily task that you must work on every day. There is no other choice. Your periodontist will be glad to slap some tissue around your tooth in the infamous gum grafting procedure – but do you really want the expense and pain of that? No, daily action on your part is the crucial element that you MUST pay attention to.
Think you don’t have gum disease? Most people think they don’t. But statistics show us that most people DO have gum disease! It’s just that most people have no clue. Unless action is taken, they will be in for an unpleasant surprise at some point during their life. Because it takes time for the damage to accumulate, many people erroneously think this is part of the aging process. They think it is natural to lose teeth. Your personal, at home dental care, can allow you to keep your teeth for the long term.