Tag Archives: infections

Advanced Gum Disease – A Shockingly Common Problem

Astonishingly, nearly half of all Americans over 30 years of age have some form of advanced gum disease (periodontitis), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). So what causes this progressive inflammatory gum disease? Who is at risk of getting it? How can it be prevented or treated?

Periodontitis Fast Facts

  • Periodontitis is a gum disease which is caused by a build up of bacteria (plaque) in and around the gums that causes the gums to pull away from the teeth (recession) which eventually exposes the roots of the teeth.
  • The infection, in its advanced stage, often affects the surrounding ligaments in the gums causing breakdown of tissues that support the gums as well as loss of tooth bone.
  • Because of this bone and gum loss, teeth become brittle and eventually start breaking off or falling out or need to be extracted surgically.
  • It can cause mouth infections that spread up through the face as well causing immense pain and suffering, often leading to all teeth having to be surgically removed.
  • Most people often don’t realize they have gum disease until it reaches advanced stages when symptoms become much more obvious. Unfortunately, by then damage is already underway.
  • Some symptoms or “warning signs” of gum disease include: red, tender or swollen gums, mouth or jaw pain, gum bleeding while eating, brushing or flossing, receding gums, loose teeth or bad breath.
  • Excess plaque that builds up around and under the gums is the leading cause of gum disease.
  • In women, periodontitis may be more likely to occur during times when hormones such as progesterone cause increase blood circulation such as during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy or menopause.
  • According to the CDC, 70% of senior Americans over aged 65 have periodontitis.
  • Smokers are at significantly higher risk of developing gum disease than non-smokers as tobacco has been cited as a trigger of gum disease.
  • A genetic component has been established for gum disease. Some people may still be at increased risk of developing gum disease despite excellent oral care routines.
  • Stress may contribute to periodontitis because the body cannot easily fight off infection when it is under constant duress.
  • Other risk factors may include: obesity, pre-existing illnesses such as autoimmune problems, or long-term use of certain medications such as anti-depressants or birth control pills.
  • Gingivitis is the all-too-common precursor to periodontitis. It is the first stage of gum disease, if left untreated or oral hygiene is not stepped up, gingivitis will eventually lead to periodontitis, which can lead to tooth or teeth loss.
  • Advanced gum disease has been linked to other chronic inflammatory diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and certain types of arthritis.
  • Many people believe daily flossing to be overkill and unnecessary, but they are wrong. Daily flossing is one of the best preventative measures as it helps get rid of bacteria build up (plaque) on the teeth that may eventually lead to gum disease.
  • Regular cleanings and checkups are also of utmost importance in preventing or catching gum disease in its early stages so it can hopefully be reversed.
  • You should brush your teeth with a soft or extra soft toothbrush in a circular motion so as not to further aggravate the gums. Aggressive brushing often contributes to gum recession over time.
  • Treatment for gum disease depends on the stage of the disease. You cannot undo gum recession that has already happened, but there are surgical procedures to re-cushion the gums as well as other options.
  • Sometimes dentists can do tooth implants for teeth that have been lost to gum disease, in early stages, they may use special tools to deep clean the gums, and in advanced cases teeth may have to be removed, and dentures can be fitted that look very realistic.

Thanks for visiting DocChat! Stay tuned for our next post on natural remedies and preventative measures to take against gum recession and disease.


Potential Health Risks of Tattoos

A tattoo is a permanent drawing on skin created by a tattoo gun inserting ink pigment into the dermis (second layer of skin) through a series of tiny punctures made by the gun’s needle. Your body treats a tattoo as a wound for good reason – because it is one! As with any wound, a tattoo comes with certain risks, however, is possible to minimize those risks to create safer tattooing circumstances.

Medical tattoo risks include:

  1. Allergic reactions: It is rare, but possible to develop an allergic reaction to tattoo ink (especially glow-in-the-dark, red, blue, green and yellow dyes). Reactions are generally localized to the tattooed site consisting of prolonged itching and discomfort. In some cases, these reactions can occur up to years after acquiring the tattoo.
  2. Skin deformities: more common than reactions, skin issues such as keloids (permanently deformed skin bumps from abnormal scar tissue) or granulomas (inflamed patches of raised skin) can develop on the tattoo from trauma to the dermis (lower layer of skin).
  3. Skin infections: If the tattooing environment or equipment is dirty or unsterile, a nasty skin infection can develop from the tattooing process, most likely from contaminated surfaces or equipment. As with any infection, an infected tattoo can cause unpleasant symptoms such as fever, pain, tenderness, nausea and skin lesions. If not properly treated the infection can become a serious health problem and ruin the appearance of a tattoo as well.
  4. Blood Diseases: If a tattoo is performed under unsafe conditions (re-used needles) it is possible to contract a serious blood disease from the contaminated needle such as hepatitis C or tetanus.

How Can You Minimize These Risks?

While it is possible to minimize the risks of the aforementioned complications, you can’t entirely eliminate risks like infection or skin deformities. If you show signs of infection or an allergy, be sure to contact your doctor or one of our highly qualified DocChat physicians today for medical advice. Some things you can do to lessen your tattoo-related risks are:

  1. Ensure you choose your tattoo artist wisely. Are they reputable and safe? Do research, look at the artist’s work as well as reviews about customer experiences. Even meet with the artist for a quick “interview” to see if they are right for you.
  2. Check out the artist’s workspace. This is almost as important as choosing a safe and responsible artist, ensuring their workspace is clean as well. Your skin will be particularly susceptible to germs since a tattoo creates a wound, so surfaces should be clean and clutter-free.
  3. Get your artist to do a “patch test” on your skin with the ink colors that are most closely associated with allergic reactions. If the small patch of color bothers your skin, you will know you can’t go ahead with the tattoo. This can save you immense discomfort.
  4. Ensure your artist washes their hands, puts on a new set of gloves and opens the needle in front of you so you can see that it is sterile. Never get a tattoo from a random person in a party setting who uses the same equipment on everyone. This is one way to contract serious diseases and possibly wind up with a terrible tattoo.

The Importance of Aftercare

If your tattoo is finished off without a hitch, that doesn’t mean you’re out of the woods. It is vital to take tattoo aftercare seriously and stick to the rules to ensure you don’t develop an infection and to ensure it heals properly and safely. These measures include:

  • Keep the area clean with light soap and warm water (dab it on, don’t rub and dab the area dry with a clean towel afterward).
  • Regularly apply moisturizer which contains gentle ingredients.
  • Avoid using petroleum products on your tattoo as it heals.
  • Do not submerge your freshly tattooed area in any kind of water (fresh or chlorinated) for a few weeks until it is healed, this could invite bacteria into the wound.
  • Cover your tattoo against sunlight for a few weeks as it can cause fading of the new ink as well as burn the wounded area which would further aggravate it and delay healing.
  • Don’t pick scabs or scratch your tattoo, bacteria from your fingers can get into the wound, or you may open the wound up which can also delay or complicate healing.

The Bottom Line

Tattoos are very popular for good reason, they can be an excellent means of self expression but it is important to understand the risks involved in getting tattooed, and practice necessary precautions to ensure it goes as well as it possibly can. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee if you take all the necessary safety measures that you won’t develop complications, so you will have to weigh the pros and cons before proceeding.

Thanks for visiting! We hope you return again soon.