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Are you a diabetic?

Did you know that there are approximately 3.2million Australians with diabetes or pre-diabetes!!!

It has been suggested that gum disease (periodontitis) is the sixth complication of diabetes.  The other 5 complications include retinopathy, nephropathy, neuropathy, vascular disease and altered wound healing.

Just look at the following facts from research done on diabetic patients:

  • Diabetic patients were 2.8 times more likely to have periodontitis (gum disease) and 3.4 times more likely to have bone loss on x-rays.
  • Diabetic patients were 4.2 times more likely to have progressive alveolar bone loss over a two year period compared with non-diabetics.
  • Poorly controlled diabetic patients were 11 times more likely to have progressive bone loss than well controlled diabetics (2 times).

Don't delay, if you are a diabetic, have your gums examined by us at gumdoctors to make sure that you don't have Periodontitis (gum disease).

If you think that you could be a diabetic then please visit your local Doctor to have a diabetes test.

Maintenance of Dental Implants

 In particular the maintenance of Dental Implants and Peri-implantitis:

Dental implants are Titanium screws that are placed into the jaw bone which support artificial tooth/teeth. Dental implants are very widely used to replace missing tooth/teeth in patients. Although they have high success rates, long term maintenance and regular check ups for dental implants is essential. This is because, dental implants may get a form of gum disease called Peri-implantitis.

Peri-implantitis results in the loss of bone around dental implants. This is considered synonymous with periodontitis around natural teeth. If left untreated, peri-implantitis can result in the loss of dental implant. It is thought that peri-implantitis is caused by bacteria in dental plaque. Studies have shown that the prevalence of peri-implantitis can be up to 30%. The three major risk factors for the development of peri-implantitis seem to be genetic predisposition, smoking and history of periodontitis. The symptoms vary for peri-implantitis which may include bleeding around the gum of the implant, loose implant or pus arising from the implant. Treatment for peri-implantitis varies from simply cleaning around the dental implant with antibiotics to complex procedure which may include surgical treatment. The treatment strategies are aimed at prevention of the loss of implant and stopping the progression of bone loss around the implant.

Therefore, it is advocated that patients who have dental implants have at least (if not more frequent) annual check ups which include a dental x-ray of the dental implants. If you require more information, please contact our practice.

Bad Breath (Halitosis)?

Halitosis or bad breath can be quite debilitating for a number of people. This can reduce the amount of social interaction that people have and hence have a huge impact on the social life of sufferers. There are 3 main factors which contribute to Halitosis:

1. Poor oral hygiene

For patients who have poor oral hygiene it may result in bad breath. Good oral hygiene practice should include cleaning of the tongue (either using a tongue scraper or a toothbrush). A tongue may harbour up to 75% of the bacteria present in the oral cavity. Brushing and interdental cleaning (either using floss / tape or an interdental brush are of course mandatory. Poor oral hygiene (along with other factors) may cause different forms of gum disease including gingivitis, periodontitis and an acute and often painful form of gum disease called Acute Ulcerative Gingivitis.

2. Diet

Patients who eat a lot of garlic and onions or fermented food and drinks such as wine may have increased amounts of Halitosis.

3. Systemic Problems

Such as chronic sinus problems or gastric reflux may exacerbate Halitosis.

Therefore, prevention of Halitosis should include good oral hygiene practice (including tongue cleaning), good healthy diet and addressing and managing any systemic problems that may be present.

An instrument that objectively measures bad breath is called the Halimeter. The Halimeter objectively measures Halitosis if it exists in a certain patients mouth. If you would like your breath tested with the Halimeter, please contact our practice to arrange an appointment.

Too much Gum Display?

Do you feel you are showing too much gum when you smile? Do you feel your front teeth look too short?

These problems can often be resolved by minor plastic surgery of the gingival (gum) tissue. Typically, these simple procedures can be done under local anaesthesia (injection into the site only) and have minimal post-operative discomfort. The recovery time is quick and the aesthetic improvement is almost immediate.

Smoking and Gum Disease

Smoking has an overwhelming adverse effect in gum disease. Smokers are up to 6 times at greater risk to getting gum disease compared to non-smokers. Smokers, in general, lose more teeth than non-smokers over a period of time and they do not respond as well to gum treatment as do non-smokers. The biological basis for this is that smoking reduces the healing capacity of an individual and also reduces the immune response capacity of a person. One of the symptoms of gum disease which a patient may experience is bleeding from the gums whilst brushing. In smokers, the blood vessels become smaller in diameter so they get less bleeding from the gums when they brush, even though they may have significant amounts of gum disease. Therefore, smoking can”mask” the gum disease. Smoking also has an adverse effect on dental implants, such that the failure rate of dental implants can be three times greater in smokers compared to non-smokers.

Therefore smokers should:

  • Quit smoking - There are different ways to achieve this including nicotine patches and medication such as Zyban. These should be done with the help of a doctor. Other alternatives include Hypnosis and acupuncture.
  • Have regular visits to the dentist / Periodontist (if required).

If you are unsure, please talk to your dentist or Periodontist

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