Dental Hygiene
What is Gum Disease?
Cause of Gum Disease


Optimal dental hygiene is important in preventing decay and gum disease and maintaining lifelong oral health.  North Avon Dental offers the dental hygiene services of our qualified dental hygienist, Lisa Meredith.  Lisa is highly trained in optimising the dental health of patients through education and tailored oral health and preventive programs.

Dental hygiene appointments will include diagnostic procedures to evaluate the health of your teeth and gums, in addition to treatment tailored to your individual oral health needs. Your dental hygiene appointment can include:

* A review of your medical history
* Comprehensive assessment of your gum health
* An oral cancer screening
* Computerised pocket depth charting
* Identification of any cause of bad breath (if appropriate)
* Thorough cleaning and polishing of your teeth
* Assessment of existing dental restorations
* Evaluation of possible cosmetic enhancements to your smile
* Application of decay preventing agents
* Smoking cessation advise
* Individualised oral hygiene instruction including tooth brushing and flossing, counseling in proper nutrition
 and recommendations for future treatment
* Referral to specialists for specific treatment (as needed)

Depending on the health of your teeth and gums, you may need to visit our hygienist every 3, 6 or 12 months.  At each visit we monitor you customised oral hygiene program with a view to preventing problems rather than treating them years later.


What is Gum Disease

Periodontal disease or gum disease is a chronic bacterial infection that affects the gums and bone supporting the teeth.

More than one in three people over the age 30 have a form of periodontal disease that has advanced beyond gingivitis.  The good news is we can help you if you have this serious infection.

Christchurch Hygiene, Gum disease

Periodontal Disease may be painless and silent but you may notice:

* gums that bleed easily when brushing or flossing
* red,swollen or tender gums
* gums that pull away from the teeth
* persistent bad breath
* pus between gums and teeth
* loose or separating teeth
* a change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite

Christchurch Hygiene, Infection diagramChristchurch Hygiene, Infection diagram 2

There is evidence to say that heart disease, diabetes and respiratory disease may be linked to periodontal disease.  Ongoing research is showing that if you have periodontal disease and you plan to become pregnant, you may be seven times more likely to have a baby born too small or too early.

Healthy gums may lead to a healthier body!



Cause of Gum Disease

The main cause of periodontal disease is bacterial plaque, a sticky, colorless film that constantly forms on your teeth. However, factors like the following also affect the health of your gums:

Smoking/Tobacco Use
As you probably already know, tobacco use is linked with many serious illnesses such as cancer, lung disease and heart disease, as well as numerous other health problems.  What you may not know is that tobacco users also are at increased risk for periodontal disease.  In fact, recent studies have shown that tobacco use may be one of the most significant risk factors in the development and progression of periodontal disease.

Diabetes is a disease that causes altered levels of sugar in the blood.  Diabetes develops from either a deficiency in insulin production (a hormone that is the key component in the body's ability to use blood sugars) or the body's inability to use insulin correctly.  If you are diabetic, you are at higher risk for developing infections, including periodontal diseases.  These infections can impair the ability to process and/or utilize insulin, which may cause your diabetes to be more difficult to control and your infection to be more severe than a non-diabetic.

Poor Nutrition
As you may already know, a diet low in important nutrients can compromise the body's immune system and make it harder for the body to fight off infection.  Because periodontal disease is a serious infection, poor nutrition can worsen the condition of your gums.

Research proves that up to 30% of the population may be genetically susceptible to gum disease.  Despite aggressive oral care habits, these people may be six times more likely to develop periodontal disease.  Identifying these people with a genetic test before they even show signs of the disease and getting them into early interventive treatment may help them keep their teeth for a lifetime.

Pregnancy and Puberty
As a woman, you know that your health needs are unique.  You know that brushing and flossing daily, a healthy diet, and regular exercise are all important to help you stay in shape.  You also know that at specific times in your life, you need to take extra care of yourself.  Times when you mature and change, for example, puberty or menopause, and times when you have special health needs, such as menstruation or pregnancy.  During these particular times, your body experiences hormonal changes.  These changes can affect many of the tissues in your body, including your gums.  Your gums can become sensitive, and at times react strongly to the hormonal fluctuations.  This may make you more susceptible to gum disease.  Additionally, recent studies suggest that pregnant women with gum disease are seven times more likely to deliver preterm, low birth weight babies.

As you probably already know, stress is linked to many serious conditions such as hypertension, cancer, and numerous other health problems.  What you may not know is that stress also is a risk factor for periodontal disease.  Research demonstrates that stress can make it more difficult for the body to fight off infection, including periodontal diseases.

Some drugs, such as oral contraceptives, anti-depressants, and certain heart medicines, can affect your oral health.  Just as you notify your pharmacist and other health care providers of all medicines you are taking and any changes in your overall health, you should also inform your dental care provider.

Clenching or Grinding Your Teeth
Has anyone ever told you that you grind your teeth at night?  Is your jaw sore from clenching your teeth when you're taking a test or solving a problem at work?  Clenching or grinding your teeth can put excess force on the supporting tissues of the teeth and could speed up the rate at which these periodontal tissues are destroyed.

Other Systemic Diseases
Diseases that interfere with the body's immune system may worsen the condition of the gums.



    2 North Avon Road (Cnr North Avon and Hills Roads), Christchurch 
    Phone: 03 365 6767 
    Fax: 03 365 6928