More teeth are lost because of gum problems than because of tooth decay. Gum disease (also known as periodontal disease) is painless, and most people are unaware that they have it. As it progresses, the bone which anchors the teeth in the jaw is lost, making the teeth loose. If this is not treated, the teeth may eventually fall out or have to be taken out because of pain.

Usually, gum disease progresses slowly and can be stopped from getting worse. Some people are genetically predisposed to developing gum disease. This is especially true for aggressive forms of gum disease.

What is gum disease and what causes it?
When you don’t brush your teeth for a while, you will notice a yellowish sticky paste (called plaque) that accumulates on them. This material looks like food debris, but it’s actually a film of bacteria which forms on the surface of the teeth and gums every day.

Many of these bacteria are harmless. But others happily munch away at the same food you’re eating and then excrete toxins and enzymes - using the grooves where your tooth meets the gum as a toilet of sorts. Bacteria thrive in the plaque environment and multiply until they account for nearly 100% of the mass of the plaque. This is why it’s important to remove it.

How to brush your teeth well
Use a toothbrush with a small brush head (to get in hard-to-reach spots), and a pea-sized blob of toothpaste which contains 1350-1500ppm fluoride. It’s best to try to work the paste right into the bristles of the brush so that it doesn’t all fall off in a big lump when you first put it into your mouth.

Ideally, you will want to invest in an electric toothbrush. The ones that come out on top for plaque removal in research studies are rechargable oscillating rotating toothbrushes 1 2 - those in the Oral-B PRO, Smart, or Genius range. Research shows that they work better for almost everyone than manual toothbrushes. Most dentists use these themselves.

You don’t need the top-of-the-range one - the difference in price is usually due to accessories, gimmicks and design. All the Oral-B brushes brushes from the Pro 2000 upwards have the same number of rotations and oscillations, and clean equally well. Of course, they are still more expensive than manual ones (and the replacement brush heads are quite expensive), but there are often special offers both in shops and on Amazon.

Choose one of the small round brush heads, rather than the oblong “Deep Sweep” or “Dual Clean” models.
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replied July 30th, 2019
Thanks for sharing the great post regarding gum problems. I am on my braces treatment, so I take good care of my teeth as there is more risk of gum disease while in braces. Putting a little extra effort into my dental hygiene routine is undoubtedly worth the outcome of healthy teeth and gums.
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