Periodontitis is a deep inflammation of the gums that can lead to tooth loss. Oral hygiene and a healthy diet are essential
Check the bacterial plaque and, in severe cases, the dentist's hand. These are the two key factors to keep periodontal diseases away, one of the most common affections of the mouth, which affects the periodontium, that is, the tissue surrounding the tooth, and in particular the gums. Inflammation affects about eight million Italians and with good habits it can be better controlled.
How to behave
The Italian Society of Periodontology and Implantology (SIdP) emphasizes the importance of prevention, in particular with regard to bacterial plaque. "As confirmed by the guidelines recently published by the European Federation of Periodontology, there are no effective drugs for the treatment of periodontitis – explains Luca Landi, SIdP president – This inflammatory disease, which affects 8 million Italians, derives from a bacterial imbalance in the oral cavity that the immune response fails to counter. Non-surgical therapy for the elimination of bacterial plaque biofilm is therefore the first step to keep the progression of the disease under control, which in the most serious cases requires surgical treatment ".
Landi continues: "However, without adequate home control of bacterial plaque by the patient, tissue healing or stabilization of the gum disease cannot be achieved: this is why a close alliance with the pharmacist is essential, who can help the patient choice of oral hygiene aids such as toothbrushes and interdental brushes and products such as toothpastes and mouthwashes, which contain specific active ingredients for the prevention and therapy of gingival inflammation, caries and dental hypersensitivity. The pharmacist, a fundamental reference figure for citizens, can thus become an accomplice and motivator of the patient in supporting their health and lifestyles ".
In short: it is necessary to manage the health of the mouth at 360 degrees. Landi recalls that "For the pharmacological control of bacterial plaque, the antibacterial chlorhexidine can be used, which reduces gingival inflammation – he continues:" Administered in oral rinses for a limited period of time, or applied locally in the periodontal pocket through special chips, it represents an effective pharmacological defense, to be used in association with mechanical plaque removal therapy. The local application of some antibiotics in periodontal pockets also seems to give good results, which are maintained for 6-9 months following treatment; the use of systemic antibiotics, on the other hand, is only recommended in some categories of patients and should be discouraged on a large scale to avoid the development of antibiotic resistance ".
Good habits to fight the enemy
Periodontitis is a deep inflammation of the gums caused by bacteria present in dental plaque that has not been adequately removed with proper oral hygiene. Unfortunately, this is an often underestimated enemy: too many believe that having bleeding or receding gums is normal or that not much can be done about it.
In some cases the problem is superficial, due to suboptimal methods for brushing the teeth, but for four out of ten Italians the diagnosis is periodontitis, a situation in which the bacteria present in the plaque have managed to enter under the gums destroying the anchor which keeps the tooth firmly attached to the bone. Unfortunately, the majority are only alarmed when they feel their teeth move and move, so the consequence, if the disease is not treated properly and in time, is the loss of the teeth.
This involves a very negative change in diet, because to eat a diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables such as the Mediterranean one requires good chewing; moreover, it is the vegetables rich in vitamin C that are used to keep the gums healthy and must therefore be a cornerstone of daily nutrition. Those who have lost teeth, on the other hand, tend to choose softer foods and favor carbohydrates, refined sugars and fats with a negative impact on health and on the wallet.