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Stop gingivitis before it starts

…with carefully formulated toothpaste, says Ann Generlich, PR and Marketing Director for Purity Laboratories.

Bacteria on the move

According to BBC research (BBC News Health) ‘40-50% of adults across the world suffer from gum disease’. The mouth is an active place, with millions of bacteria constantly on the move. While some bacteria are harmless, others attack the teeth and gums. Gum disease is the most common dental problem that will occur in over 50% of the adult population age 35+, with 9 out of 10 people developing gum disease at some point in their lives. ‘According to the US Office of the Surgeon General, among adults aged 35 to 44, 48% have gingivitis and 22% have destructive gum disease’ (US Department of Health).

Oral health and overall health

There is growing clinical evidence that small infections in the mouth may be a contributing factor to several diseases; researchers have uncovered potential links between periodontal disease and other serious health conditions. Recent studies suggest that diseases such as heart attacks, oral cancer, stroke, diabetes, ulcers and pneumonia can start in the mouth. An oral infection can affect the whole body. In people with healthy immune systems, the influx of oral bacteria into the bloodstream is usually harmless. There are hundreds of different types of oral bacteria which can enter the bloodstream through small tears in the gums and can be especially dangerous to people who have illnesses such as heart disease or diabetes. The bacteria can infect the liver and cause it to produce artery-clogging proteins, or may directly infect the arteries causing blockages and heart failure.

New research suggests that losing teeth at a young age could be an early warning of Alzheimer's in later life. Studies have shown a link between gum disease marked by teeth loss and brain disease. Scientists think it is not gum disease but the accompanying inflammation that helps to trigger Alzheimer's. The early exposure to inflammation quadruples the risk of developing the disease at an old age, research suggests.

Tailored toothpastes

The whole dental industry finds itself moving towards price and performance parity between products and consumers are demanding new types of benefits that go beyond traditional attributes. There was a time when we chose toothpaste simply because we liked the taste. Not any more! One of the biggest challenges for toothpaste manufacturers is being consumer driven beyond just responding to the market and to competitors, anticipating what people will buy and what will be a success. It also means working constantly to come up with new ideas that can be tested in the market, keeping in close touch with the customers. As oral hygiene is largely a mature category, manufacturers must differentiate themselves in order to become more appealing to consumers by diversifying toothpaste products – specialising them. There are products for particular consumer groups, for example whitening, natural, gum strengthening or total protection toothpastes, as well as products for different ages and for sensitive teeth.

Innovative ingredients

Toothpaste should not only prevent gum disease by controlling the amount of plaque that builds up on teeth but should also nourish and strengthen gums, fight plaque, re-mineralise and harden tooth enamel for cavity protection and leave your breath smelling fresher. New innovative toothpaste products (such as Beverly Hills Formula) boast a gum protection system, with vitamin E to invigorate and strengthen the gums, plus fluoride to protect against the exposed root area.

“Healthy teeth and gums are not just about looking beautiful; they help improve health and wellbeing.”

Gum strengthening toothpastes contain ingredients that help reduce and stop bleeding gums and that promote healthy growth of the gum tissues. Allantoin calms inflamed gums and is added to relieve the irritation caused by detergents, alkalis and acids. It also helps protect teeth against acid erosion. Fluoride strengthens the enamel and protects against cavities, protecting teeth as it shields the exposed root area effectively against cavities thereby reducing the risk of tooth loss. Folic acid helps to build new cells and therefore helps with tissue growth and cell function as well as battling gingivitis and making the gums more resilient and problem resistant. Horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) extracts contain saponins, known collectively as ‘aescin’, which have a gentle soapy feel and are potent anti-inflammatory compounds. Saponins also reduce capillary fragility and therefore help to prevent leakage of fluids into surrounding tissues which can cause swelling.

An extract of horse chestnut has recently been shown to have one of the highest ‘active-oxygen’ scavenging abilities of 65 different plant extracts tested. Such extracts exhibit potent cell-protective effects which are linked to the well-known anti-ageing properties of anti-oxidants. Panthenol (Vitamin B5) and Vitamin E are remineralising agents and give new life to gums and strengthen the enamel. Vitamin E is an essential fat-soluble vitamin that helps keep the important chemicals in your body from oxidising or breaking down. It also functions as an antioxidant and therefore helps protect cell membranes, lipoproteins and fats. The gum protection method, with Vitamin E, is proven to revitalise and strengthen gums and help to prevent decline. Permethol is for damaged gums and helps to stop gum bleeding, relieves inflammation and nourishes the gum tissues. Q10 protects against periodontal decline and decreases periodontal pocket depth as well as healing gums.

Healthy mouth – healthy body

Dr Nigel Carter, CEO of the British Dental Health Foundation, supports Purity's healthy mouth – healthy body message: ‘A good oral health routine keeps the mouth looking and feeling fresh, preventing gum disease and guarding against general health conditions like heart disease and strokes and can help with early detection of mouth cancer, which kills one person every five hours in the UK’. The message advocates the importance of a lifelong oral hygiene programme. Healthy teeth and gums are not just about looking beautiful; they help improve health and wellbeing. A multifaceted approach is recommended in order to reduce the burden of oral diseases. Healthy mouth objectives should include community based initiatives, self-care and professional care. Make your patients' and your own smiles beautiful, unforgettable and distinctive by aiming for healthy teeth and gums.

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Generlich, A. Stop gingivitis before it starts. Vital 6, 36–37 (2008).

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