When people grow old their teeth fall out and they need dentures right? Wrong. There is no reason why you shouldn't keep your teeth till you are well over 100 (we should live so long). Teeth are lost due to trauma, over zealous dentistry and gum disease. Avoiding the first two is easy. The last requires a little effort on your behalf. Due to poor education, after the age of 35, about three out of four adults are affected by some form of gum disease.
Gum disease develops in the majority of cases as a result of the accumulation of harmful bacteria and their by products over a period of many years around the gums. The body reacts to this build up by producing inflammation.
Signs of disease
The affected areas may be red and puffy and sometimes but not always sore. Your gums may have pulled away from the teeth. They may be discoloured from deposits left under the gum. You may have pus between your teeth or they may feel loose.
If you have any or all of the above signs you need to see the dentist.
- You can help yourself by brushing the gums (and the teeth by proxy) with your toothbrush 2 to 3 times a day. It is essential that you use a soft brush and angle the bristles 45 degrees towards the spot where the gum touches the teeth. If your gums bleed when you brush them then you aren't brushing enough and you need to get ypur teeth cleaned at your dentist.
- "Only floss the teeth you want to keep". People hate flossing. Its boring and smelly and technically difficult. True but when you know how its really not that bad. Flossing gets between the teeth and cleans out the old gunk (plaque, calculus and food bits) the brush can't reach. Technique is crucial. The floss must be gently drawn in a horizontal fashion through the contact point between adjacent teeth down towards the gum and underneath it. Hold the floss tightly against the root of the tooth and gently move the floss up and down the root face. Then do the adjacent tooth. And all your teeth. Even the back ones. Especially the back ones.
- If you don't floss and brush properly the bacteria and their byproducts cause destruction of the bone that the teeth sit in. Individual teeth may be affected or numbers of teeth in an area can fall to gum disease. It has different patterns in everybody. Generally it starts in your 20's and continues for life.
- How do I avoid it?
- The first step is to have the correct technique. For that you have to come to the dentist.
- Have very good oral hygiene. Its cheaper in the long run at the dentist and you'll get to chew when others are complaining about their dentures. Your breath will be peachy and your teeth will look great.
- Get regular checkups and cleans. Sometimes you have deposits that cannot be removed by rushing and flossing alone. You need a clean slate on which to start your new oral hygiene plan.
- If you think you have gum disease, it is never too late to look after your mouth. Any oral hygiene is good. Start today!
- Bad breath
- Generally bad breath is caused by any of the following: Smelly Foods, poor oral hygiene, gum disease, a dry mouth, decay, tobacco products or medical disorders.
- Bad breath should not be covered up with breath fresheners and mouth washes. The cause should be sought and remedied. Eat simple foods, drink lots of water and practice good oral hygiene. If bad breath persists then see your dentist. You may have decay or gum problems that need to be attended to.