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 UK, according to the British 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 BDA 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.
* Don’t forget to clean between your teeth. Clean between your teeth at least once a day with 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.