According to a report by the U.S. surgeon general in 2016, e-cigarettes are the most popular tobacco product among American youth. In fact, the use of these alternatives to cigarettes grew by 900 percent among high school students in just four years between 2011 and 2015.
One study conducted by the University of Rochester Medical Center suggests that electronic cigarettes do as much damage to gum tissue as traditional cigarettes. The study was the first of its kind to look at the cellular and molecular levels of oral health and their relationship to the use of e-cigarettes.
A new study from the University of Buffalo has found that estrogen therapy to treat osteoporosis could help prevent gum disease in older women. Researchers looked at nearly 500 postmenopausal women, 365 of whom had been diagnosed with osteoporosis. Of those 365, 113 were receiving estrogen therapy as treatment for their osteoporosis. The results of the study found that that the women receiving estrogen therapy for at least six months had periodontal pockets that were shallower than those who weren’t receiving the treatment. In addition, the women receiving estrogen therapy had less space between their teeth and gums and less bleeding of the gums than those who had not been receiving the treatments.
Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss among adults. It’s also incredibly common even though it’s highly preventable in most cases. A consistent, efficient oral hygiene routine that consists of brushing twice a day and flossing can do wonders to help prevent the complications that come with this damaging disease. Seeking professional care as soon as you notice an issue will help you reverse the damage before it becomes more severe. There are four stages of gum disease that increase in severity and invasiveness of treatment as it progresses.
The earliest stage of gum disease is marked by swollen, red gums and sometimes bad breath. Bleeding gums is one of the most common symptoms and the easiest to notice. The good news is, since bone loss has not yet begun, the damage done in this stage of gum disease is usually reversible with treatment.
As part of a regular dental and checkup, the dental hygienist who performs the cleaning part of the exam will check the gums for gaps or pockets. These pockets are home to millions of bacteria that cause tooth decay and periodontal infections. If the depth of these pockets is four millimeters or greater, the hygienist is likely to recommend a deep cleaning or root planing procedure in order to reverse the damage caused by periodontal disease.
Deep cleaning, also known as scaling, is a process in which plaque and tartar are physically removed from the deep pockets surrounding the teeth through ultrasonic or manual scaling. Plaque is a biofilm full of bacteria, that blankets the teeth in between brushings. While plaque is soft enough to be brushed and flossed away, if a patient does not practice good oral hygiene, plaque calcifies into tartar. Tartar is a hard, bony substance that cannot be brushed away. Tartar spreads over and in between teeth and also stretches below the gumline.