42 Where There Is No Dentist 2012
2. Show your students how infected gums can cause teeth to fall out.
A. W hen gum disease is beginning, a small red `pocket’ forms where the tooth
meets the gum. Germs and food collect in the gum and make acid. This
makes the gums sore.
B. As a result, the gum pulls away and the pocket becomes deeper.
C. The bone moves away from the infection and no longer holds the tooth.
Try to think of other ways to teach how gum disease pushes the
bone away from the tooth. In Jamaica, dental workers ask, “What do
you do if someone attacks you with a machete (long knife)?” “I run
away!” most people answer. “Exactly,” say the dental workers, “and
when you have a lot of germs attacking the root of your tooth, the
bone ‘runs away’ and leaves the tooth with nothing to hold it.”
Tell a story to show how, when the gum moves away from the top of
the tooth, the root and bone are open to attack. For example:
One day, a hen was sitting on the eggs in her nest. The hen was
hungry, and when she saw a worm, she left the nest to catch the
worm. Just then, a possum came along, saw the fresh, warm eggs,
and ate them all up.
Explain to the students that the gums protect the teeth the way a
hen protects her eggs. When she leaves the eggs unprotected and
exposed, an animal can attack and destroy them. When gums around
a tooth are red and sore, the tooth is exposed to germs that can attack
not only the top of the tooth, but also the bone and root.