Predisposing Factors for Periodontal Disease

From our previous article, you’ve learned that predisposing factors are plaque-retentive factors found in the mouth. They are physical or mechanical that, aside from encouraging plaque accumulation, also renders plaque removal more difficult. In this article, we will discuss the most common predisposing factors one by one.

Calcular Deposits:

Calcular deposits are the most common predisposing factor. It has a hard, porous, and irregular surface where plaque can accumulate easily. Removal of calcular deposits will be of great help in the prevention and treatment of periodontal Gum disease.

Irregularities on Tooth Surface:

These include cavitations caused by tooth decay, non-decay cavitations, and developmental abnormalities.  Irregularities located in-between the teeth and near the gum line are the ones that contributes the most to the development of periodontal Gum disease. Non-decay cavitations, or what dentists call non-carious lesions, include abrasion, ab fraction, and erosion. Abrasion pertains to loss of tooth structure by mechanical causes, usually incorrect and vigorous tooth brushing.

Abfraction, meanwhile, is loss of tooth structure near the gum line due to flexure of tooth. It is often related to bruxism, and it gets worse when combined with incorrect tooth brushing techniques.

With regards to developmental irregularities, the most common are the so-called enamel pearls. These are globules of enamel that form in the root area, more commonly in-between the roots of molars. They are about the size of a pinhead.

Tooth Malpositions:

Tooth malpositions can present as crowding, spacing, rotations, tipping, and drifting. All of these complicate oral hygiene, leading to increased plaque accumulation. Thus, dentists prescribe orthodontic treatment to correct the malposition and make oral hygiene much more effective. They may also recommend the use of adjuncts like interdental brushes, single-tufted brushes, and wood sticks to name a few.

Periodontal Gum Disease

Oral Appliances:

Much like tooth malpositions, oral appliance also promotes the development of periodontal disease by making oral hygiene more difficult. Such appliances include partial dentures, dental braces, and retainers. In partial dentures, fixed bridges are more likely to encourage plaque accumulation because they are much more difficult to clean compared to their removable counterparts.

Dental braces and retainers are challenging to clean as well. That is why adjuncts are also recommended for those who have any oral appliance in their mouth. Individuals with dental braces, in particular, are advised not to delay or miss an appointment with their orthodontist.

Erupting Wisdom Teeth:

Erupting third molars are difficult to reach given their position at the back of the mouth. If they are partially-erupted and the orientation is not upright like other teeth are, the problem is even worse. Plaque accumulation often leads to a condition called pericoronitis, where the gum tissue overlying the partially-erupted tooth, also known as operculum, gets inflamed. To get rid of it, a procedure called operculectomy is required. It is a minor surgery that involves removal of the operculum. Another treatment option, which will be more effective as it gets rid of the root cause, is the extraction of the tooth itself.

Faulty Restorations:

Faulty restorations pertain to poorly-constructed or poorly-fabricated restorations. These restorations are commonly characterized by having overhangs, poor contours, and subgingival margins. An overhang is the extension of the restoration beyond the confines of the tooth. In other words, it pertains to excess restorative material. More often than not, you can find it in-between teeth and at or near the gum line. The periodontal destruction caused by overhangs is a slow and painless process, causing an individual to be aware of it only when the destruction is extensive enough.

Poor contours, on the other hand, make the gum tissues less cleansable. Problematic contours may be over- or under contoured. Lastly, subgingival margins are margins placed below the gum line. These margins are difficult to reach, making plaque removal almost impossible.

As you can see, these predisposing factors have a huge role in the development of periodontal Gum disease. Some of them may be addressed by your dentist, but most are up to you to take care of. By eliminating these factors, their harmful effects on the mouth, periodontal disease can be prevented or arrested.

Caring For Your Toothbrush

A good oral hygiene plays the most important role in taking care of your pearly whites. But to keep your teeth healthy for longer, you also have to do proper care and maintenance of one of the tools that helps you do so – your toothbrush.

Here are some general considerations on how to take care of your favorite oral hygiene buddy, as recommended by the American Dental Association (ADA).

NEVER Share Your Toothbrush with Anyone.

The oral cavity is loaded with millions of microorganisms that may potentially cause infections, both oral and systemic. And these could be transferred to your toothbrush during use.

Sharing your toothbrush with anyone results in the exchange of these microorganisms between users, putting everyone at risk for infections. But individuals with compromised or weakened immune systems or have existing infections are at greater risk.

Rinse Your Toothbrush Thoroughly After Every Use.

Rinse your toothbrush under running water after brushing to wash off any remaining toothpaste and other debris.

Some individuals soak their toothbrush in an antibacterial mouthwash, while others use commercially-available sanitizing solutions for toothbrushes. Both methods are acceptable. A dishwasher may also be used, but not for long periods.

Allow Your Toothbrush to air-dry After Rinsing.

Put your toothbrush in an upright position and let it air-dry until your next use. If two or more toothbrushes are stored in the same holder, keep them apart to prevent cross-contamination.

Avoid storing your toothbrush in closed containers. A closed container provides moist environment which is conducive for growth of microorganisms.

Use Proper Brushing Techniques.

How well you care for your toothbrush is just as important as the care you give your teeth. When you brush, do it gently using short strokes instead of long, hard strokes. Vigorous brushing makes the bristles get worn easily.

Replace Your Toothbrush Every 3 to 4 Months.

Even if you follow all the tips given above, they would still be useless if you don’t replace your toothbrush on a regular basis.

The ADA recommends getting a new toothbrush every 3 to 4 months or as soon as the bristles start to look worn and discolored from everyday use. Worn toothbrushes clean much less effectively, particularly on areas where plaque accumulates the most – underneath the gums and in between the teeth.

Now, the rates at which toothbrushes wear out depend on factors unique to every individual.

Check your toothbrush regularly, look out for signs of wear, and replace as needed. Even if you don’t see any obvious signs of wear and tear, you still need to change your toothbrush regularly because they often have microorganisms which can build up to significant levels over time.

Children’s toothbrushes may need to be replaced more frequently than adult brushes. Also, you may have to replace your toothbrush much sooner if you get colds or other viral infection.

But no matter how often you get a new toothbrush, replacing them ensures that you have a clean, efficient brush that will optimally clean your teeth and provide you with a healthy smile for life.

5 Biggest Causes of Tooth Sensitivity

Do you find yourself wincing every time you eat your ice-cold treat? Or perhaps when you brush or floss your teeth?

You could be experiencing tooth sensitivity. You don’t have to worry, though, as there are lots of things you can do to lessen this discomfort.

Among them is knowing what the most common causes are, so you can avoid them and prevent tooth sensitivity from occurring in the first place.

Vigorous Toothbrushing

Toothbrushing is good for your oral health, but doing it with too much gusto can actually be harmful to your teeth.

Vigorous brushing can wear down the tooth enamel and expose the dentin underneath it. The dentin consists of small tubules that connect directly to the pulp, which contains nerves.

When these tubules are exposed to extreme heat or cold, the nerves are stimulated resulting to tooth sensitivity. To avoid thinning out your enamel, brush more gently using a soft-bristled toothbrush.

Acidic Foods

Acidic foods can also wear down the tooth enamel just like vigorous brushing does.

The only difference between the two is that acids cause chemical dissolution, while brushing causes mechanical wearing.

You don’t have to stay away from these foods. Instead, you can just rinse your mouth with water right after eating any acidic food to wash away the acids and limit their contact with your teeth. And be sure to wait for at least 30 minutes before brushing your teeth.

The dissolution caused by the acid plus the mechanical action of your brush will only make the problem even worse.

Bruxism

Again, even though the enamel is the hardest and strongest substance in the body, it can easily be worn down by various mechanical factors.

One is vigorous brushing, and another is by bruxism or tooth grinding. It causes sensitivity in the same way as the first two.

To solve this oral habit, consult your dentist for recommendations and fabrication of a protective mouth-guard that you can use at night.

Gum Disease

Gum disease, caused by excessive accumulation of plaque on tooth surface, lead to gum recession and exposure of the tooth roots.

Unlike your tooth crown which has hard, strong enamel to protect it, the cementum covering the tooth root is softer and therefore more prone to dissolution and mechanical wear.

In such case, your dentist will manage the underlying problem first then prescribe something that will help seal your teeth.

Dental Treatment

It is not uncommon to experience some sensitivity after undergoing certain dental procedures. These include professional cleaning, placement of restorations, root canal treatment, or even extraction.

The sensitivity induced by these procedures can last for a couple of days and should not be a cause of concern because it will go away on its own.

However, if the symptom persists and/or gets worse, contact your dentist immediately. Only your dentist will know what to do and give the best advice for your particular situation.

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