-The gums require almost as much attention as the teeth. Loss of teeth depends as much on the state of the gums as on that of the teeth themselves. When the gums atrophy or ulcerate, the teeth become loose and are no longer useful. The gums should be firm and pale pink. When they become red and tender they are diseased. They ought to be able to bear brushing almost as well as the teeth themselves. Tartar is very destructive to the gums; there is a popular notion that it is dangerous to remove tartar from the teeth, as it in some manner supports them. This is an absurd idea. Once formed tartar is always increasing, and the gums recede before it, leaving the roots of the teeth no support, but only the covering of tartar. Among the causes of ulceration of the gums is the use of crude wood-charcoal dust. The fine parts of the charcoal penetrate through into the gum tissues, and set up inflammation and finally ulceration. The best material for cleansing both teeth and gums is soap, and of all soaps the finest Castile soap is the best. “Coffin’s American Dentifrice” is an excellent preparation of this kind, containing in addition, polishing material for the enamel of the teeth. McLinton’s Tooth Paste is also very good. All medicated tooth powders are objectionable, and especially for those who are taking homoeopathic remedies.
General Treatment.-All food that tends to create acidity, such as sweets, and rich, fat foods, should be avoided. Also meat should only be taken sparingly, and after each meat-meal all particles should be carefully removed with a quill tooth-pick. The teeth should be cleaned and the mouth washed after each meal, care being taken not to irritate the inflamed parts of the gums. When tartar has accumulated, it should be removed, if necessary, by a dentist.
Medicines.-(Three times a day.)
-This is useful in almost all cases-inflammation, bleeding, ulceration, falling away from the teeth.
-This may be given for a time after Mercurius, if the latter appears to be losing its effect.
Ac. nit. 6.
-If much mercury has already been taken.
-Suppuration of the gums, especially if the bone is affected.
-This may be given after Phosph. or in alternation with
-An excellent mouth-wash is made by putting ten drops of this in half a tumbler of water. This may be used for rinsing the mouth every time the teeth are cleansed. It is especially useful where there is inflammation or ulceration of the gums.