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Health 101

Smile is contagious, gum disease too!

Seeking confident smile?


The quality of one's lifestyle and socio-economical status is
determined by the oral hygiene measures.
Oral hygiene consists of two aspects: Gums health “periodontal
condition” and Teeth.
Although usually neglected, we must be aware of the importance
of our periodontal health.
A study published in the journal of periodontology suggests that
periodontal disease affects how people smile. They concluded that
periodontal disease might negatively affect people’s smiling habits
and even discourage them from displaying positive emotions with
a smile. Conducted at the University of Michigan, the study
evaluated the smiling patterns of 21 periodontal patients as they
viewed a segment of a comedy program. At predetermined points throughout the segment, the
researchers assessed three dimensions of patients smile: the horizontal width of the mouth, the
open width of the mouth and the numbers of teeth shown. Although the patients were medically
free from any musculature diseases, the most of them couldn’t smile properly and showed uneven
smile because they did’t want to show their teeth. Others covered their mouth by hands.
The periodontal disease or “Gums disease” is one of the major misleading diseases because its
symptoms and the final consequence do not appear for days, weeks or months. The gums and
periodontal structures are the supporting structures of the teeth and they are their attachment
mechanism. The integrity of periodontal structure determines the quality of teeth survival for a
prolonged lifetime.
The story of Gums disease starts when food accumulates at the junction between the gums and
teeth. When it is not cleaned it is fermented by the action of bacteria living in the oral cavity and
forms a layer called Plaque. This layer can be removed by the daily oral hygiene routine like brushing
and flossing. If it’s not removed, it gains minerals
”calcium and phosphorus” from the saliva to form a hard layer called calculus. This layer consists of
different types of bacteria and cannot be removed by the toothbrush. It continues the destruction
of the teeth attachment apparatus by tearing the periodontal ligaments forming periodontal
pockets as a first stage then bone resorption and gums recession resulting in the exposure of teeth
roots leading to variable amounts of teeth mobility.
This leads to the loss of teeth whether they are sound “caries free” or not.

Here is the good news! When this condition is treated by maintaining proper oral hygiene measures
at the reversible phase the ligaments can grow again and your gums health is maintained. Our aim
should be not to reach the irreversible phase. At this level, the periodontal treatment will not be
able to save the teeth and its fate will be the extraction.
Scaling and cleaning every 6-8 months in the dental office with regular check-ups will prevent and
treat your gums.
Daily oral hygiene measures: teeth brushing and flossing will help you to protect and maintain your
gums and teeth resulting in a confident smile with a healthy oral cavity. A toothbrush will only clean
the inner, outer and the top surfaces of your teeth. dental floss will clean the interdental “ in-
between teeth surfaces” which can’t be reached by a toothbrush.
Here is a simple test you can perform to evaluate your gums condition:
• Colour : pale pink ( healthy) / reddish pink or red ( inflamed).
• Gums between teeth: Pointed (healthy) / rounded or blunt ( inflamed).
• Brushing: Without bleeding (healthy)/ with bleeding ( inflamed).

After this simplified test you can be your own guide for your gums Health.

Dr.Mohamed Essam graduated from MIU Misr international university faculty of dentistry
works as fixed prosthodontics and Branch Manager of shiny white dental center Maadi
Branch