Do you ever think “Thank goodness I don’t have that!” when you hear about teeth and gum issues? Well here’s what you need to know about where those issues come from.
Bacteria can be found almost everywhere and our mouths are full of bacteria. A sticky film on teeth and tissues in the mouth, caused by bacteria and mucus along with other particles, is called “plaque.” Plaque is being formed continuously and cannot be stopped. When food particles and plaque stick to teeth and areas between teeth the bacteria from plaque turns the food particles into acid. The acid then leads to tooth decay and gum disease.
A mild form of gum disease known as gingivitis can happen when plaque builds up on tissues that surround the teeth. Gingivitis symptoms include red, swollen, and bleeding gums but can be reversed with good oral hygiene.
If gingivitis is not treated the result is a chronic infection in the pockets around the teeth called periodontitis. This more severe form of gum disease, caused by specific bacteria in plaque, needs to be treated by a dentist. If left untreated it can ruin the bones, gums, and other tissues that support your teeth. This may result in teeth becoming loose, falling out or require removal by a dentist.
Good news though – plaque can be controlled!
To control plaque and prevent tooth decay and gum disease:
- Brush with fluoride toothpaste twice a day for two minutes.
- Clean between your teeth daily using dental floss.
- Get a dental cleaning every six months.
- Eat a balanced diet and stay active.
- Limit snacking and drinking between meals.
- Limit added sugars in your diet by reading the label and looking for added sugars like corn syrup, glucose, fructose, sucrose, honey and maple syrup.
Want to get your children and preteens more involved in their dental care? Go to http://www.mouthhealthykids.org/en/ and find videos, quizzes and 7 tooth brushing tunes for kids!
Thank goodness you can avoid teeth and gum issues. Conscientious oral hygiene and regular dental visits equals healthy teeth and gums, part of a healthy body.