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Gum diseases: Dentist counsels on teeth maintenance

Dr Adebayo Onisarotu, a Dentist with the General Hospital, Gbagada, Lagos, on Tuesday says irregular maintenance of teeth could result to gum diseases later in life.
Onisarotu told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on telephone in Abuja that Nigerians should cultivate the habit of brushing their teeth twice daily to prevent gum diseases later in life.
According to him, gum disease is often silent, in which symptoms may not appear until an advanced stage of the disease.
He explained that gum diseases were common among adults, adding that gum disease could be avoided if the intake of sugary foods and drink are minimal.
According to him, gum disease or gingivitis is the inflammation of the tissues surrounding and supporting the teeth and is most common as a result of poor dental hygiene.
“Gingivitis is a very common condition and varies widely in severity, it is characterised by red, swollen gums that bleed easily when teeth are brushed or flossed.
“Gum disease is mostly caused by improper oral hygiene which allows bacteria in plaque and calculus to remain on the teeth and infect the gums,’’ Onisarotu said.
He said the warning signs of gum disease include gums that were receding or pulling away from the teeth, causing the teeth to look longer than before.
“Other symptoms could be red, swollen or tender gums in your mouth, bleeding while brushing, flossing or eating hard food.
“Pus between the gums and teeth, sores in the mouth or persistent bad breath and many more,’’ he said.
Onisarotu said brushing of the teeth morning and night has beneficial effect as it removes plaque, food and other foreign substances.
He said experiencing tooth loss at an elderly age was as a result of improper care of the teeth when they were young.
“Adults are more prone to gum diseases, the tooth fall off as a result of weak gums, which is not normal as people usually think it was only due to old age.
“Whether old or young, it is very important to take care of the teeth regularly and wash the teeth properly,’’ Onisarotu said.
He said if one must use chewing sticks; it should be used the proper way to get the best results.
Onisarotu said the chewing sticks had some chemical substances that were beneficiary to the teeth.
“Many are just using the chewing stick and leaving it in their mouth for decoration and not actually brushing it the proper way.
“The process of chewing involves continuous mixing and softening with saliva, in a process that is often absent-minded during the duration.
“When the brush is formed, the fringe is used to scrub the surface of the inner and outer parts of the teeth,’’ he said.
Onisarotu said early stages of gum disease can often be reversed with proper brushing and flossing, adding that good oral health would help keep plaque from building up.
He said professional cleaning by the dentist or hygienist was the only way to remove plaque that has built up and hardened into tartar.
“Your dentist or hygienist will clean or `scale’ your teeth to remove the tartar above and below the gum line.
“If your condition is more severe, a root planning procedure may be performed. Root planning helps to smooth irregularities on the roots of the teeth making it more difficult for plaque to build there.
“By scheduling regular checkups, early stage gum disease can be treated before it leads to a much more serious condition,’’ said the expert. (NAN)

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