Brushing and flossing the teeth are not physically tolling nor do they require an excessive amount of effort. On the other hand, if you can accomplish those tasks correctly every day your teeth and the gums remain healthy and free from diseases. Proper brushing and flossing are the very basics to maintain a healthy mouth.
Tartar and plaque build-up in the mouth are responsible for gum disease. What is plaque? It is nothing but a sticky film that forms on the teeth. It mostly consists of food debris stuck inside the mouth, mucus and harmful bacteria. When plaque is not removed it turns into a harder version called tartar. Harmful bacteria in the mouth thrive both in plaque and tartar. Bacteria present in both tartar and plaque are responsible for inflammation of the gums. Technically the condition is called gingivitis. Other than a qualified dentist only a dental hygienist can remove the tartar build-up inside the mouth.
3 Stages of Gum Disease
1st stage or gingivitis – the first stage itself is called gingivitis. At this stage the gums are reddish, a little swollen and tender. Moreover, it is likely to bleed often. The condition can be easily reversed if detected on time. Further damage is prevented by correct brushing and flossing of the teeth.
2nd stage is periodontitis – at this stage the inflammation of the gum tissues is more severe and a patient bleeds around the tooth frequently. Bleeding occurs because the bonding of the tooth to the gum breaks down. As a result, the gum pulls away from teeth. Tiny pockets of puss and other infected materials develop. At this stage the process of bone loss around the teeth initiates. Proper treatment and care are crucial at this level to prevent more loss of bones as well as loosening of the teeth.
3rd stage of advanced periodontitis – the gum pockets filled with pus and other infected materials deepens further in this stage of the infection. Moreover, the bone around the teeth responsible for holding the later in place heavily eroded away. As a result, the teeth become so loose that they are required to be removed if the treatment does not cover support to the affected bones.
The dental condition hardly shows any symptoms at the early stages. The symptoms come up only when the infection has reached the advanced stages. The symptoms include the following:
- Lingering bad breath
- Reddish, sore and swollen gums
- Receding gums or the condition in which the gum pulls away from the teeth
- Loose teeth
- Pain while chewing
In addition to the ones mentioned above one may also complain about sensitive teeth.
Certain factors put you in a higher bracket of developing gingivitis or gum infection. These include:
- Habitual smoking or consuming any form of tobacco
- Side effects of certain medicines
- Fluctuating hormone level in women
How to prevent
The basics to avoid gum infection start with maintaining optimum oral hygiene. Proper brushing and flossing every day are most crucial to stay away from the problem. Brush twice using fluoride toothpaste and a toothbrush with soft bristles and floss once preferably before going to bed at night. If you practice this regimen daily not only gum infection but also other problems like tooth cavities and tooth loss stay at bay. Go for a routine dental check-up once a year while getting the teeth cleaned by a dental hygienist once every 12 months.
Tips for correct brushing
- Try brushing your teeth early in the morning while starting the day and before going to bed at night.
- Make sure your toothpaste contains fluoride and the toothbrush has soft bristles.
- Investing in an electric toothbrush is a smart idea.
- At 45 Degree angle hold the toothbrush with the gum and apply gentle pressure of the hand.
- Cover all the three surfaces of the teeth and brush no more neither no less than 2 minutes.
- Make short strokes with the brush instead of scrubbing.
- Brush the chewing surfaces as well as the outer surface of the teeth using short, back and forth strokes.
- Brush vertically against the inner upper front teeth using short downward strokes.
- For the lower inside teeth use short, upward strokes.
- Get a new toothbrush every 3 to 4 months or when the bristles get worn and frayed – whichever is faster.
- Do not cover up the brush bristles after use. Let it stay in the open to dry up. A damp toothbrush encourages the growth of harmful microorganisms that can damage your teeth and the gums.
Flossing is helpful
Flossing is extremely helpful to maintain a strong and disease-free mouth. Floss removes plaque as well as food particles stuck in between the teeth. However just like proper brushing, proper flossing is also important. Here are a few tips to help you floss the teeth correctly.
- Do an approximate measurement and cut off about 18 inches of floss.
- Hold the floss tightly between the forefingers and thumbs.
- Place the floss between the teeth and slide up and down gently.
- Whenever the floss is about to touch the gum line, slide it upward again around a tooth.
- Use the floss with simple up and down motions.
Watch your diet
Your diet plays a big role in keeping your teeth and the gums strong and healthy. A renowned dentist in Battersea suggests the following diet to stay away from the usual dental problems:
- Calcium maintains the bones that support the teeth. Include food items that have a high proportion of calcium, like dairy products including milk, cheese and yogurt. This range of food items is equally helpful for both children and older adults.
- Avoid sweetened, sugary and sticky foods like pastry, candy, toffee and taffies. Immediately after having a sweetened food or drink, rinse the mouth well with plain water.
- Avoid the sugar-coated variety if you are into the habit of chewing gums. Instead go for the sugarless ones to keep the teeth and the gums healthy.