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03 Aug 2020, Edition - 1847, Monday

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Coimbatore

Dental hygiene: how to take care of gums

Umaima Shafiq

Dr. Swarna Manikandan says how dental check-ups are hardly given priority. Her advice is to have a check-up at least twice a year, and follow a sensible diet to ensure strong gum and teeth.

Dental hygiene helps prevent bad breath, tooth decay, gum disease and other oral ulcerations. Weak gums can start at any age, say dentists in Coimbatore.

Gums can weaken at any age, it is not that they get weaker with age. This is mainly due to food particles left in the teeth and if they have not been cleaned properly they can slowly impact the gums. The first sign is bleeding when we brush our teeth followed by bad breath. This can happen even for 10-year-olds with just four or five permanent teeth in the front. Besides this, diabetics in their middle age are also prone to gum weakness, although diabetes is not directly related to gum disease. But if there are food particles in the teeth, they can get inflamed and cause pain.

If you ask me if gum diseases are contagious, I would say ‘no’.

Gum diseases are not contagious either from saliva or otherwise. It is also not caused by food. The treatment, of course, is professional dental cleaning every six months. The more serious gum problems require gum surgeries which are mostly by laser. These surgeries are less invasive though it depends on the severity.

Personal hygiene like brushing teeth with proper strokes twice a day, flossing and using mouth wash help to make gums stronger besides a balanced diet of proteins, vitamins, carbohydrates say dentists.

We don’t generally recommend any toothpaste brand as it is only a medium while the brush type and mouth wash are more important.’

Gum diseases are also protracted during pregnancy and menopaus. This is due to hormonal changes, the saliva’s composition and content changes causing weakening, lesions and bleeding. So, pregnant women should follow good dental hygiene, to avoid dental problems later on. Nowadays even gynaecologists recommend this. Of course, all tertiary medical treatments are postponed until after baby’s birth, but for severe cases, we opt for cleaning during the fourth or fifth month or second trimester. Also chewing tobacco, betel, drugs, cigarettes among others can bring on gum diseases and ulcerations.

I regret that dental visits are given least priority by patients. Although dental neglect is more in poor socio-economic circles, even wealthy people are wary of dental procedures, and have pre-conceived about surgeries. They think cleaning will make their teeth sensitive, affect enamel and other such worries. Those with heart problems have to be given antibiotics before gum treatment. I advise everybody to have dental check up at least twice a year, have good dental hygiene and plan their diets. Strong gums give strong teeth that can last throughout our lives and make our face remain youthful.

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