The Taliban, Your Gums, The Stock Market
DO YOUR GUMS BLEED WHEN YOU BRUSH? If so, you may have periodontal disease.
Blood coming out of any part of our bodies is usually not a good thing. I mean, if you brushed your HAIR and drew blood, you would worry, right? You should also worry when your mouth bleeds. You could lose your teeth, and according to some studies the infection could possibly damage your heart and other vital organs as well. And what’s worse, there’s usually little or no pain to warn you of the danger. Most people think they’re brushing too hard and that’s causing the bleeding … wrong! The fact is…you’re not brushing hard enough…or often enough…or you’re doing it on autopilot.
Little bugs called bacteria live in our mouth. Some of them like to eat enamel resulting in cavities. I consider these bacteria, a source of revenue…without them many of you wouldn’t need me. They thrive in an acid environment, which is produced by sugar… you know, cakes and candies and of course carbonated cola. Sodas are the most dangerous. Not only are they highly acidic, but there are about 12 teaspoons of sugar in each can…a double whammy to enamel… but Disney World for the bugs. Not wanting a crisis to go to waste, I own stock in Coca-Cola.
Other types of bugs live in the space between the tooth and the gum… in crevices dentists call pockets … where they literally digest our gums. And because they reproduce VERY rapidly… that is make babies, every 10 to 12 hours…they have to be cleaned away just as frequently. Most mothers reading this, realize that a pregnancy every 10 to 12 hours is Stephen King territory. But this is not fiction. Now here’s the R-rated stuff: these bug-families go to the bathroom just like we do. And the babies don’t wear diapers. Now this may be way more information than you care to process, but it’s a fact. Each generation must be removed at birth. This is not Rowe versus Wade… just biochemistry 101.
But brushing alone won’t do it. These bugs are like the Taliban: They live in caves, and they’re hard to get to. So the most critical part when going after the little buggers is to clean out the little caves between your teeth where they hide. And were the brush doesn’t fit. Toothpicks work… flushing with a WaterPik helps… and of course dental floss… (FLOSS is actually the first word newborn baby hygienists speak… not Mama or DaDa). If your hygienist has never mentioned floss to you… then she’s probably into toothpicks…or you just have ONE tooth. Now, one tooth, from a health standpoint, at least, would be ideal… there would be no caves….and you wouldn’t need toothpicks. And of course the specialty of orthodontics would be wiped out. I tell some guys that I see every few years…they probably change the oil in their pickups a lot more frequently than they maintain their mouth. Of course, I say it in a nice way and we all get a laugh out of it. But a cleaning every couple of years won’t do it for most of us. University studies recommend an average of 4 months between “oil changes”, i.e. Hygiene visits, to keep our mouth running well. So if your gums are bleeding… and you’re spending more on breath mints than electricity… you should probably see your dentist.
Gum disease is nasty. Left untreated, it will DISSOLVE the bone holding the tooth in your mouth. Sort of an oral osteoporosis…that’s the really bad part… we need the bone! So the first sign is blood …the next is teeth that wiggle…two huge red flags. At this point, you need professional help. I’m convinced if we spent as much time cleaning BETWEEN our teeth as we do scrubbing our front teeth, I pretty much could close down my Hygiene Department. But then again, that would put Patty and Cindy out of work. So maybe we should all continue doing what we’re doing… with the economy the way it is… and all that…you know…Stay well,
Bill Ardito, D.D.S.
855 W. Bell Road, Suite 600
Nogales, AZ 85621
Appeared in July 2010 Nogales International