Preventing Tooth Loss and Gum Disease | Health Eagle

Preventing Tooth Loss and Gum Disease

by Lori Sciame October 17th, 2011 | Diseases
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There’s an aspect of health that many Americans ignore – dental health. Even though we need our teeth to chew, to speak, and to even convey emotion, scores of us ignore proper tooth and gum care, and hundreds of thousands of people skip dental check-ups altogether.

Do you understand the basics of dental care? See if you can pass the following quiz.

1. How often should you brush your teeth?
2. How often should you floss our teeth?
3. How often should you schedule a cleaning at a dental office?

Did you know the answers to these questions? If not, read on.

You should brush your teeth at least twice daily, once in the morning and again at bedtime, with a tooth paste that contains fluoride. You should also floss daily. There are many types of floss available, from mint to cinnamon flavored, and you can choose from waxed or un-waxed versions. Finally, your teeth should be professionally cleaned and checked every six months at a dental office. This includes yearly x-rays to see if decay has begun. If a dentist does find signs of decay, he or she should fill the cavity as soon as possible.

In addition to tooth decay, you also need to understand that your gums suffer from improper dental care as well. According to the United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC), “Periodontal (gum) disease is an infection caused by bacteria that gets under the gum tissue and begins to destroy the gums and bone. Teeth become loose, chewing becomes difficult, and teeth may have to be extracted. Gum disease also may be connected to damage elsewhere in the body; recent studies link oral infections with diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and premature, low-weight births.”

Further information from the CDC proves that gum disease is common. Consider the following facts from their website.

*Advanced gum disease affects 4%–12% of U.S. adults.
*Half of the cases of severe gum disease in the United States are the result of cigarette smoking.
*The prevalence of gum disease is three times higher among smokers than among people who have never smoked.

Preventing gum disease is the same as preventing tooth loss. You should brush and floss regularly, and you should visit the dentist’s office every six months for cleanings. If you haven’t seen a dentist in several years, be on the look-out for tender gums that seem to be pulling away from your teeth. Bleeding gums also need to be addressed.

In addition to the tips listed above, there are other ways to help keep your mouth healthy. Eat a well-balanced diet, avoid hard candies or candy that sticks to the teeth, limit sugary drinks (try lifesource water instead), and quit smoking or using chew tobacco.

Although your grandparents may have had dentures, you won’t need to if you take proper care of your teeth and gums. By being diligent about brushing, flossing, and dental visits, you can help your teeth to last a lifetime; you can avoid tooth loss and gum disease.

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All health and medical information is provided for educational purposes and is not meant to replace the medical advice or treatment of your healthcare professional.