If you are a young adult, you may think that now you have mastered the art of toothbrushing and childhood decay is behind you, you have nothing much to worry about tooth-wise.
We wish it was so, but there is an ever-present threat in your mouth that can lead to your teeth becoming loose and falling out. It’s gum disease. You may have seen the ads about it on TV, with the woman spitting blood when she brushes her teeth.
That’s the start of gum disease, but the end is often painful infections and then teeth falling out. And all from that sticky layer of plaque that builds up on your teeth between meals. Amazing.
What is that sticky stuff anyway?
Plaque is an ever-present, ever-active layer of bacteria that clings to the surfaces of your mouth to avoid being swallowed. The bacteria themselves are just harmlessly living in your mouth, but as they go about their daily routines of feeding on the sugars in your saliva and dividing to produce more bacteria, they give off acids. And it’s the acids that do the damage.
If you swished acids around your mouth, you’d expect them to inflame and irritate your gums, attack your tooth enamel and under your gums. And that is exactly what plaque acids do. They get diluted as they mix with your saliva, but at source, ie. around your teeth and gums, they are pretty concentrated.
What can you do?
It’s simple. You need to keep up a diligent twice-daily brushing routine to remove plaque. At Meadowbank Dental Practice in Edinburgh, we can teach you how to brush your teeth, suggest good toothbrushes and pastes and also discuss flossing, interdental brushes and mouthwashes. So, if you want to pick up some great tips, don’t hesitate to ask either our dentists or our hygienists.
The other thing you really need to do is come for check-ups and hygienist sessions. You can never get rid of all your plaque, so the session with the hygienist is to make sure to remove the plaque you have not been able to reach with your brush.