A lack of good dental hygiene can cause you to lose more than your teeth. It can be life-threatening.
Recent studies show that gum disease, an infection of the tissues that support your teeth, is linked to three main killers: heart disease, diabetes and respiratory disease. Unfortunately, gum disease is quite common, affecting three in four adults over 35 in the U.S., according to the American Dental Association.
Gum disease is caused by not sufficiently removing plaque, a film of bacteria that constantly forms on the tooth’s surface. Symptoms of the disease vary from red, tender gums to loose teeth that have to be extracted.
Here are some tried-and-true strategies for gum disease prevention:
* Make healthy choices. Eat a balanced diet and quit tobacco use. Research shows that smokers are up to six times more likely to develop gum disease than nonsmokers.
* Brush properly. Brush your teeth at least twice a day. For the most effective brushing, the ADA suggests brushing your teeth at a 45-degree angle against the gums, moving the brush in short strokes and brushing all surfaces of your teeth. To do this without error, some dentists suggest using the HydraBrush Express.
Developed by Oralbotic Research Inc., the HydraBrush Express cleans all six surfaces of your teeth simultaneously, eliminating the human error aspect of brushing. The toothbrush uses automatic bristle positioning, massages the gums and has brush heads that move at 810 strokes per minute. To use it, you bite into the brushes and guide the handle toward the back of your mouth. The process takes 40 seconds or less and, with daily use, you can enjoy whiter teeth, healthier gums and a decrease in plaque.
* Don’t forget to floss. Clean between your teeth at least once a day with floss or interdental cleaners. Doing so will remove bacteria and food particles from areas that a toothbrush can’t reach.
* Visit the dentist regularly. Get your teeth professionally cleaned every six months. At this time, report any questions or concerns you have regarding oral care.