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Gum disease is an infection of your gums that support the teeth.
What Causes Gum Disease?
Gum disease is usually caused by a build-up of plaque, which is an invisible sticky layer of bacteria that forms naturally on the teeth and gums. If bacteria are not brushed off daily, they can cause the gums to become infected, irritated and damaged. If bacteria are not removed from the teeth they can also form a rock-hard layer called tartar.
Many people with gum disease are unaware they have a problem because it often has no pain or symptoms. Some signs of gum disease include:
Periodontitis is the later stage of gum disease where the supporting bone and gum that hold the teeth in place are forever damaged. This can cause the teeth to loosen and affect how a person bites and eats. He or she may even lose their teeth.
Step 1: Use a soft brush with rounded bristles. Choose a size and shape that allow you to reach all the way to the back teeth. Replace the toothbrush every three months, and after a cold or the flu.
Step 2: Brush at a 45 degree angle to the teeth. Put the bristles to where the gums and teeth meet. Use a gentle, circular, massaging motion, up and down. Don't brush too hard because gums can be damaged.
Step 3: Clean every surface of every tooth. This means brushing the cheek side, the tongue side and the top of each tooth.
Step 4: Slow down. A thorough brushing should take two to three minutes. Don’t forget to brush the tongue and lining of the mouth!
WHY is tooth brushing important?
Regular, thorough tooth brushing is a very important step in preventing gum disease, cavities and even lung infections.
Brushing removes the bacteria that can cause gum disease and cavities. It can even help prevent breathing problems, because elders who clean their teeth regularly have a lower risk of getting lung infections, like pneumonia. This happens when bacteria travels from the mouth to the lungs causing an infection.
HOW OFTEN should an elder brush?
Make sure the elders brush their teeth at least once a day (preferably twice)! Check if all surfaces of the teeth are clean. This means you or the elder must brush the cheek side, the tongue side and the top of each tooth.
Brushing the tongue and lining of the mouth also removes harmful bacteria that can cause problems.