A recent poll of 1,000 people over 35 done by Harris Interactive Inc. found that 60 percent of adults surveyed knew little, if anything, about gum disease, the symptoms, available treatments, and--most importantly--the consequences. And 39 percent do not visit a dentist regularly. Yet, gum disease is the leading cause of adult tooth loss. Moreover, a Surgeon General's report issued in May 2000 labeled Americans' bad oral health a "silent epidemic" and called for a national effort to improve oral health among all Americans.
The good news is that in most people gum disease is preventable. Attention to everyday oral hygiene (brushing and flossing), coupled with professional cleanings twice a year, could be all that's needed to prevent gum disease--and actually reverse the early stage--and help you keep your teeth for a lifetime.
· Dearie me, you think brushing alone means good care of your teeth? Think again.
· First and foremost, is of course, brushing, as you rightly said. But are you following the right brushing technique? The next time you see your dentist, ask him to show you the right way to brush your teeth. Use a good toothbrush with SOFT or at the most MEDIUM bristles. Hard brushes only wear out your teeth, and are positively not recommended for those with weak or sensitive gums.
· You must preferably brush after each meal, or at least twice in a day. Use a good TOOTHPASTE: tooth powders, charcoal, sawdust etc. will only affect the enamel on your teeth in the long run, discolor your teeth, and make them sensitive.
· And remember to replace your tooth brush every three months. Don't chew on your brush like some folks do on those 'neem' sticks. Even if your tooth brush is less than three months old, if the bristles have spread out completely and look like they have been shredded, its time for a new toothbrush. Using shredded bristles will hurt your gums, and make brushing very painful and uncomfortable.
+ Do not rush the brushing process: your entire brushing session should last at least for three minutes.
+Use a good brand of TOOTHPASTE. Avoid abrasive elements like tooth powder, charcoal etc.
+Wash the bristles of your toothbrush before you brush your teeth.
+Toothbrushes are ideally stored in a cup or toothbrush holder, in a vertical position with the bristles up.
+Change your toothbrush the moment the bristles become serrated. Even if it is not so, it is a good plan to change your toothbrush every three to four months.
+Don't scrimp: buy a good quality toothbrush. Cheap toothbrushes have rough and uneven bristles which could damage your gums and wear out the enamel of your teeth with repeated use.
+Use a SOFT or at the most MEDIUM toothbrush. Hard brushes damage your gums and wear out the enamel of your teeth.
+NEVER SHARE YOUR TOOTHBRUSH. Its amazing how many people do it. A toothbrush is a very personal possession. Sharing it could spread disease, and is downright unhygienic
· After brushing, you must FLOSS your teeth. Flossing clears any debris or deposits that accummulate between your teeth.Flossing wire is cheap and easily obtainable from your friendly neighborhood chemist. Its easy once you get used to the technique. If you have money to spare, you can even but a Y shaped floss holder. This makes flossing as easy as brushing teeth. Make it a habit to floss at least once in a day, ideally just before you retire for the night.
Occasionally, you should use a good mouth wash, to give your mouth the fresh, clean smell.
Apart from this, the mouthwash even disinfects your teeth, keeps germs out and helps prevent oral diseases like gingivitis. Listerine is a famous brand of mouthwash. Of course, there are other brands available as well. Almost every tooth paste manufacturer makes mouthwash as well. Some of the other well known brands of mouth wash are Macleans, Listermint, Oral-B, Pepsodent, Sensodyne, Super-G, Aquafresh and Colgate Plax. However, many of these brands are now available in India.