An oral health epidemic is silently wreaking havoc in the mouths of millions of Americans. It affects people in the prime of life and often worsens with age.
What is this stealth scourge? Gum disease. Bleeding is likely to be the first clue. While brushing your teeth, the toothpaste turns pink or blood appears on your toothbrush. If you ignore the problem, it is likely to get worse: more bleeding, gum swelling and tenderness, maybe bad breath. Your dentist may inform you that you have gingivitis — or inflammation of the gums — which is a mild form of gum disease. This should serve as your wakeup call.
This epidemic is staggering-- an estimated 90% of Americans have gingivitis, and 70% of seniors suffer from gum disease.
Oral Care Recommendations to Combat Gum Disease
Here is what I recommend to keep your teeth healthy and fight back against gum disease:
- Avoid sweets, sugary drinks, and sticky food.
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day or after every meal, with a soft-bristle toothbrush, manual or electric, (if you can’t brush, swishing your mouth out with water will reduce bacteria by 30%).
- Angle the toothbrush properly (at 45º)and wiggle it back and forth so the bristles reach below the gum line.
- Floss after you brush to remove plaque from areas that a toothbrush cannot reach, including below the gum line.
- See a dentist once or twice a yearfor a periodontal checkup and a dental hygienist for teeth cleanings at intervals recommended by your dentist.
Doug Ralston D.D.S., a well-regarded dentist, wrote this article in the Huffington Post. We have posted a shorter version of the article. The full version is available here.