Alongside dental decay, the next most common oral disease is gum disease. Gum disease (or periodontal disease) is characterized by:
- Bleeding gums
- Accumulation of plaque and calculus (tartar)
- Receding gums
- Loose teeth
- Drifting teeth
- Bad breath
- Gum detachment
- Swelling of the gums
- Loss of teeth!
Again, this is preventable! Our understanding of gum disease has improved over the pass 30 years and we now know that not everyone needs to lose all their teeth by 50 years old! Most gum disease can be avoided by effective and regular cleaning. Even though the dentist can help you with the cleaning every 6 months, you need to maintain it daily.
- Brush your teeth 2 times daily with a soft bristle toothbrush.
- Plaque accumulates at the gum margins – concentrate on where the teeth meet the gums.
- Calculus (tartar) usually accumulates on the tongue side of the lower front teeth and the cheek side of the upper back teeth – concentrate on that.
- Flossing gets in between the teeth where the toothbrush can’t reach.
- Tooth brushing, along with flossing and mouthwash, increases plaque removal by about 20%.
- Electric toothbrushes do most of the work for you and can get to hard to reach places because of it’s smaller head.