You brush, floss and rinse on a daily basis. But you probably don’t give your teeth and gums much further thought unless you’re experiencing a toothache or sitting in your dentist’s office for your twice-yearly cleaning. Many individuals are caught off-guard when they’re told by their dentist they have periodontitis, commonly referred to as gum disease. It’s a rude awakening to be informed that dental problems don’t just plague those who have poor dental health hygiene. They can and do affect even those who take the most diligent care of their teeth and gums.
Periodontitis — periodontal disease — is an epidemic among Americans. In fact, one out of every two over the age of 30 has some form of the disease. In those 65 or older, the rate increases to more than 70 percent. This chronic, inflammatory disease affects gum tissue and bone and if not treated, can lead to a host of problems, including bleeding gums and tooth loss. Many individuals are also surprised to find out that gum disease has been linked to a variety of serious conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Gum disease is not something to ignore. And, if you’ve been told you’re already showing early signs of the disease, it’s time to take some proactive steps to preserve your teeth and gums.
Think Beyond Your Toothpaste
Once told that you have periodontal disease, you may wonder if a change of toothpaste or a new dental rinse will be enough to treat the problem and improve your general dental health. This is highly unlikely. Today’s toothpastes and rinses are highly effective at protecting teeth from developing cavities, but they do not prevent the impact of over-brushing – a leading cause of receding gums, sensitive teeth and subsequent gum disease. Rather, one of the most beneficial steps in protecting your gums is to replace your toothbrush with an alternative that is less abrasive and damaging to fragile gum tissue.
Many people are surprised to find out that even supposedly “soft” toothbrushes can wreak havoc on gums – especially by those who tend to brush aggressively. Yes, many of us were told that we were getting our teeth cleaner if we brushed longer and harder. This is simply not the truth and ironically a leading cause of dental health problems. Along with brushing away gum tissue, over-brushing also weakens tooth enamel which can lead to tooth decay and yellowing of the teeth.
Look at Your Dental Hygienists Tools
So, you may be asking what you should use to clean your teeth and care for your gums if you’re not supposed to use a traditional toothbrush. When your dental hygienist professionally cleans your teeth, the polishing tool has a rubber tip. It’s not abrasive, and it’s designed to gently clean and polish. This is the idea behind the PeriClean specialty toothbrush. Ultra-soft, flexible and strong enough to brush away food particles and plaque, it’s gentle on your gums — and does wonders for superior dental health!
Don’t Ignore Your Dentist’s Warning
If your dentist has alerted you that you have gum disease (such as periodontal disease) or are at risk of developing it, don’t ignore the problem. And don’t think that simply changing your toothpaste is the answer. Work with your dentist and use a toothbrush that protects your gums and teeth. With the right strategy, you will have the best chance of keeping your teeth and avoiding the inconvenience of dentures or the high price of dental implants.