What Is Periodontal (Gum) Disease?

What do you mean my gums have a disease?

Periodontal disease is the last thing you want to hear about when you visit a dentist, but believe it or not he hears those words almost every day. Luckily, unlike the Ebola virus, gum disease is entirely preventable, and in the long run treatable.

What Causes Periodontal Disease?

Gum disease isn’t a disease as you immediately think of it. You aren’t walking around, flossing your teeth at the mall, when someone coughs periodontal disease into your face. It’s more of a case of lack of maintenance, like when you go 10,000 miles without changing the oil in your car on a regular basis. You see, our mouths are filled with millions of microscopic bacteria swimming around. These bacteria are mostly beneficial, but when combined with mucus and other gunk in our mouths they harden to form plaque. We brush and floss our teeth to remove that plaque, and start the process all over again. Of course, sometimes we miss a spot, and some people fail to brush at all. When the plaque hardens, it causes gingivitis, which is a fancy word for “my gums are red, swollen and bleed a lot.” Gingivitis, you might say, isn’t a big deal. With regular flossing and brushing as well as attention from a dentist, it will be a thing of the past. If left alone, on the other hand, it will become extremely hard and thick. The gums, knowing that gingivitis is gross, will begin to pull away from the teeth. Retreating, if you will.

Who needs those cowards anyway, right? Well, unfortunately your gums are protecting the air pockets around the roots of your teeth. Those formerly helpful bacteria now invade the air pockets, causing infection and pain. Eventually, the process will rot away at the root of the tooth, causing them to fall out. If your mouth were a car, I’d say it’s time to take it in to the dealership.

How Do I Prevent Periodontal Disease?

First, brush and floss your teeth. I realize that most people don’t enjoy flossing their teeth. The solution is to floss your teeth anyway. Next, identify if you have some of the common risk factors:

  • Smoking, which will also kill you.
  • Diabetes
  • Medications
  • Genetics, meaning that some people are just prone to gum disease.
  • Hormonal changes in women
  • Other diseases

However, despite these risk factors, regularly maintaining your teeth is the best bet. You should brush twice a day using a soft brush and applying fluoride toothpaste in gentle circles. Then, you must floss at least nightly. Ideally, you would swish with a mouthwash, but brushing and flossing is the bare minimum. Concentrate on actually cleaning all of the areas of your mouth, not just moving the toothpaste around long enough to tell yourself you brushed. Generally speaking, this is enough to prevent periodontal disease.

What if I Already Have Gum Disease?

Don’t worry, it’s not the end of the world. You’re probably experiencing some pain, and your gums probably look pretty red and inflamed. Some other symptoms are:

  • Persistent bad breath
  • Painful chewing
  • Loose teeth

Needless to say, at this point you need to see a dentist. Preferably, today. They will first most likely take x-rays to see if there is any bone loss. If they are a periodontist, a specialist, they will be able to steer you in the right direction to correct this illness. Treatment is focused on removing the bacteria that have infected your teeth, and then helping the gums to heal over the exposed air pockets. The first step is a deep cleaning, followed by medications such as an antiseptic mouth wash. Serious cases may involve periodontal surgery, which is performed under anesthesia by a dental surgeon. I know, it doesn’t sound pleasant! However, the last thing you want to do is continue with gum disease and end up losing all of your pearly whites.

How to Reduce the Risk of Sexually Transmitted Diseases

There are a wide range of sexually transmitted diseases that you want to protect yourself against. Even taking contraception or ensuring the girl you are with is on contraception does not reduce the risk of you getting one of the diseases.

The good news is that the majority of STD’s are treatable. There are a few that aren’t, there is no cure, but there is effective treatment to help you manage the symptoms in the long term.

The common sexually transmitted diseases you will want to get to know about include HIV/AIDS, gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, Hepatitis C and Hepatitis B, just to mention a few. Each one has its own signs and symptoms, which is why it’s advisable to have confidential STD testing on a regular or semi-regular basis.

In order to reduce the risk of contracting any one of these diseases, you will want to use a condom. You should use a condom at all times, including if using toys, this can dramatically reduce the risk of contracting these diseases as they are spread through bodily fluids, which also includes blood.

Limit the number of partners you have. While you may find it fun to wake up in a different bed on a regular basis, you are not doing yourself any favors, by limiting your partners you can dramatically reduce the risk of getting any one of these diseases. Those in long term relationships with only one partner have the lowest risk of contracting these diseases unless one of you has another partner or has a drug habit.

One of the easiest ways to reduce the risk is to limit your alcohol and drug use. Spending a night out on the town and drinking in excess can leave you without any inhibitions, making it difficult to ensure that you don’t make the mistake and go home with someone, something you wouldn’t ordinarily do if you weren’t drinking. Rather be safe than sorry and limit yourself when drinking or ensure you are in the right frame of mind to make the best health decisions and reduce the risk of regret later on.

Now whether you find yourself in a situation with a new partner or you feel you have been exposed to a sexually transmitted disease in some way, the only way to be sure is to have a confidential STD test. The good news is that you can book your test online and there are literally thousands of laboratories that carry out this form of testing using numbers rather than names, so your name is kept private at all times.

You may have taken precautions, such as using a condom or ensuring that you didn’t drink too much, only to find out later that you have a partner that has been sharing needles, this is an example only. This has instantly put you at risk.

Do some online research into finding the best companies that can provide you with confidential STD testing. The thing to look for is a company that takes your privacy very seriously. They shouldn’t only offer a testing process, they should also offer advice and recommendations, along with counselling if needed and medical professionals who are able to give you a prescription if you need one.

If you have been diagnosed with a disease through confidential STD testing, it is imperative that you refrain from having sex for as long as the medical professional recommends while you take your medication. This reduces the risk of you passing on the disease to the next person.

7 Diseases Spread by Mosquitoes

No doubt, mosquitoes are such bothersome insects plaguing mankind today. With just one bite, this tiny pest can cause you trouble for a period of time.

On most cases, a mosquito bite can be harmless. Small bumps may emerge on the bitten skin, which may itch for a while and then disappear and disregarded.

However, there are times when a simple mosquito bite can result into something life-threatening. These tiny insects consume the blood of their hosts and as they fly from one victim to another, they can transmit mosquito-borne diseases. Various types of diseases can be acquired from a mosquito bite that can range from merely an annoyance to grave and alarming illnesses. Exterminating mosquitoes can be tough, but there are certain actions that you can take to protect yourself from getting bitten and refrain from having a mosquito-borne illness.

Below is a list of mosquito-borne diseases and symptoms that you should watch out for:

Zika Virus

Symptoms of Zika virus include fever, rash, pain in the joints and redness in the eyes. This disease is highly dangerous to pregnant women as it can cause birth defects such as microcephaly, which affects the head and brain.

Brazil and other South American countries are the areas where Zika virus is endemic. Up to date, there is still no known vaccine for Zika. Pregnant women should stay away from these areas to avoid coming into contact with the virus or mosquitoes carrying it.

Dengue Virus

This virus is found in many tourist spots in South America, the Pacific Islands, and Southeast Asia but is rare in the United States. Rash, fever, headache, abnormal bruising and bleeding gums are the typical symptoms of this virus. There is no vaccine for Dengue and if neglected and not treated properly, this virus can cause a hemorrhagic fever that can be very fatal. It’s best to take measures to prevent mosquito bites, especially in areas frequented by the Dengue virus.

West Nile Virus

Most of the time, people do not experience symptoms from this virus. However, there are cases when this virus causes fever, joint pain, diarrhea, vomiting, and rash. On some occasion, this virus can lead to serious complications such as encephalitis and meningitis. Prevalent in almost every U.S. states, this virus, again, has no available vaccine.

Malaria

Commonly found in African countries, Malaria has symptoms like headache, fever, chills and vomiting. It is rarely found in the U.S. but if you travel a lot especially in African countries, you may get infected with the disease too. If you are in a place where this virus is prevalent, it is highly recommended to sleep under a mosquito net, apply insect repellent spray or lotion and spray insecticides in the area to keep the mosquitoes away.

Yellow Fever

Jaundice is caused by yellow fever, which can make one’s skin and eyes look yellowish. In addition, symptoms like headache, backache, chills and vomiting may also be experienced. Mosquitoes carrying this disease are prevalent in South America or Africa. There is a vaccine available to fight off this disease.

Chikungunya

Strong joint pain that in most cases may be severe that can affect one’s movement is the main symptom of Chikungunya. Rash, headache, nausea, and fatigue are other symptoms included in this disease. As there are many cases of Chikungunya in Europe and the Americas, this disease is found in Asia and India too. While many people recover from this disease, there is no known cure for Chikungunya. This disease may last for months or even years.

La Crosse Encephalitis

Most of the time, symptoms of this illness are not noticeable, but it may cause fever, headache, and nausea. There are around 100 cases of La Crosse Encephalitis reported in the US each year, mainly in the upper mid-west, mid-Atlantic and southwest.

Stay Safe

If mosquitoes are chronic in your area, guard yourself from being bitten. You should avoid areas where there’s stagnant water in which mosquitoes may breed. Try to stay indoors during the times when these insects are out the most. If you need to go out, make sure to use repellents for your protection.

When you are faced with symptoms other than the itchiness and redness from a mosquito bite, consult a doctor immediately to prevent any further complications.

Is Sterilizing Your Pruning Tools Necessary?

Pruning is a very tedious job but the results are well worth it. Plants are at your mercy once the pruners come out and you start towards the them. As they see you coming towards them like a dentist with a needle. They are probably wondering ” I hope those are clean”. Sterile instrument no matter what the job is very important. The spreading of disease from plant to plant because you didn’t take two minutes to simply wipe down your pruners before beginning could cost you more in the long run.

Let me give you an example. Not long ago during the first weeks of spring, I was landscaping for a client and noticed her roses were not in the best of shape. It wasn’t just one rose but a whole row. The stalks were nice and tall but the leaves had a unusual appearance to them. If you know rose leaves then you know they are not the most attractive leaves but they do have a distinct look. Most of them are light green and are somewhat heart shaped. Not these leaves. Can you imagine what the end of a witches broom looks like? That is exactly what the leaves resembled. They were long and stringy with no shape at all. This is a disease in roses called Rose Rosette Disease. It can wipe out a ton of roses. One way the disease is transmitted is through pruning. When you use tools that have not been disinfected before using them compromises your plants to a whole host of diseases. That is why I am a big advocate on disinfecting pruning tools after every use. I maintain many homeowner’s landscaping and when I do I always start with a clean pair of cutting tools or I use their tools in hopes that they have followed the same guide lines that I have in protecting their landscaping. Keeping your tools clean will save you money and time in the long run. It only takes a couple of minutes after all.

There are several household disinfecting agents that will get the job done and most likely already have them on hand under your sink. Most nurseries and commercial greenhouses use commercial strength disinfectant to clean and prevent infections. If they put that much care into their plant you should do the same. By the way, I’m pretty sure you are just as concerned in your investment as they are. No matter what product you choose technique is key to proper disinfecting in order to stop the spread of disease and keep your pruners in great working order.