Word of Mouth
October 22, 2004
Early action saves teeth

Today you brushed or flossed and noticed a bit of blood. Maybe your gums looked red or felt puffy. Perhaps you suspect your breath is bad or you can notice a foul odour when you floss between your teeth.

The above symptoms are all early signs of gingivitis, which can lead to periodontal disease, which can cause your teeth to shake and gums to swell, leaving no option but for the removal of the tooth.{{more}}

Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults and is often seen in diabetics and in HIV positive and other immuno-compromised patients, who are more prone to infections.

The good news is that you are the one who can save your teeth. Once you’ve sought the help of a dental professional, it is then your responsibility to make a daily commitment to preventing gum disease.

Gum disease is an infectious disease that is caused by bacteria found in plaque. Plaque is a soft, sticky film that is constantly deposited on your teeth and gums, and requires daily removal.

Here are some tips to saving your teeth:

* Brush and floss at least twice daily. You should set aside three to five minutes to brush and floss correctly. Tilt the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle allowing some of the bristles to get under the gum, moving the toothbrush back and forth or in a circular motion; do not scrub or scrape teeth.

* Remember to use a soft brush – the size, shape and type are not as important as how you use it and how long you use it.

* If you have spaces between your teeth you can use a proxobrush – a specially designed brush.

* Your dentist may recommend a mouthwash such as Listerine that has been proven to be effective in reducing plaque and gingivitis.

* Lifestyle – Smoking, drinking alcohol and a stressful lifestyle can drain your body of vitamins and essential minerals, which may worsen the gingivitis.

* Diet – Eat a raw vegetable a day. Hard fibrous foods clean and stimulate teeth and gums.

There are other methods of attacking gum disease, but making these few simple changes may be enough to solve your problems. Remember that gum disease, treated early, is simple and inexpensive. If left to progress it would require extensive dental treatment and more complex home care.

So don’t wait for obvious signs of the disease to occur – practise good home care, get your check ups done and help save your teeth.

Dr. Simone France is a Dental Surgeon and is the owner of Dental Care Dental Clinic.