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Periodontics and the art of holding on to your teeth.

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Home  /  Periodontal - Dental News  /  Periodontics and the art of holding on to your teeth.

If periodontal disease should strike, it won’t go away of its own accord. Here’s what you need to know about treating it.

We find it amusing when people sometimes argues that modern forms of medicine are not as effective as so-called natural medicines. This homeopathic viewpoint ignores one major point – the fact that average life expectancy has skyrocketed over the last century, largely as a result of advances in conventional medicine.


The statisticians tell us that a female baby born in Ireland today can look forward to living to one hundred. This is not just the occasional person reaching this milestone, but is the average age that our female population will live to. The age for men is slightly lower, but still stretches well into the nineties.


It's also reckoned that the child has already been born in Ireland who will reach the milestone of 130. This is mind-boggling when we look back only a hundred years or so and remember how low, in relative terms, Irish life expectancy was.


Why are we rabbiting on about this topic, you may ask. Well for one simple reason. If we’re going to live this long, doesn’t it make sense that we’ll want all our faculties as we grow older – including a healthy set of teeth. And you can’t have healthy teeth if your gums aren’t healthy enough to support them.


This is where the topic of periodontics comes into play. We’ll start this topic by explaining that periodontics is the particular branch of dentistry that concerns itself with the structures which support and surround the teeth – mainly the gums.


The biggest single threat that your gums face is periodontal disease – also referred to quite commonly as gum disease. The condition is a lot more common than you might think, and American stats claim that as many as four out of every five could be suffering from the condition at any given time.


Gum disease is caused by bacterial infection. This form of infection is incapable of damaging the tooth itself, but if the gums become badly damaged, then you’ll inevitably lose the tooth as the structures that support it become too weak.


Once bacteria starts to work, it will continue to work. In other words, if you don't do something about the situation, things will only get worse, and can result in anything from a very painful periodontal abscess to damage of greater and greater areas of your gums.


At the beginning, gum disease might be confined to the area surrounding a single tooth, but it’s the job of bacteria to spread – at a frightening rate – so you need to be on the lookout at all times for the signs of gum disease, which can be anything from reddening of the gum area to loss of bone mass or even bleeding.


The bottom line is that your teeth were designed to last you a lifetime, and even with greater levels of life expectancy, this still holds true. So if you want to look forward to golden years that include use of a full set of teeth, then now is a good time to do something about it.


Next time you're in the surgery, why not talk to us about ways to combat gum disease – and set you up nicely for a bright, brilliant smile as you celebrate your 100th birthday down the line.


If you'd like to know more about this topic, here’s a helpful articles from the Dental Health Foundation - http://www.dentalhealth.ie/dentalhealth/causes/periodontaldisease.html