Your gum is older than your teeth by about six months, and although the teeth get replaced after a few years, the tooth/gum relationship is basically, hopefully, a lifelong partnership. In looking after the one, you have to look after the other. They are Romeo and Juliet, Troilus and Cressida, sometimes with the same tragic ending.
Oral health extends much further into general health than most people realize. A healthy mouth = a happy smile and easy chewing which aids digestion. An unhealthy mouth = self-consciousness, bad breath, and sometimes poor speech. More than 80% of Thai people have some form of tooth decay and/or gum disease. If you don’t want to join this unhappy band – read on.
Plaque. The major cause tooth decay and gum disease
Most mouth woes are caused by plaque, so what is it exactly? Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that forms on teeth and gum. Following a meal or snack, the bacteria in plaque releases acids that attack tooth enamel to weaken it, which eventually leads to tooth decay.
Plaque that is not removed by thorough daily brushing and cleaning between teeth can harden into a calculus or tartar, a substance that irritates the gum, making them red, tender or to bleed easily. It can damage bone and destroy the tissues around your teeth and leads to periodontal (gum) disease that is a major cause of tooth loss in adults.
Taking good care of teeth and gum
Not many people realize the consequences when they face a tooth or gum problem. A few will go to the dentist and seek professional advice but most, all too often, just take a painkiller and press on regardless. The trouble is, unlike taking a pill for a headache which normally has no lasting effects, taking a pill for toothache merely screens the problem which is likely to get worse.
Prevention is the best defense and in this case prevention takes the form of regular brushing – at least twice a day, and flossing. Ideally, you should brush after ever meal or snack, but as a practicality, once in the morning and once at bed time will suffice. Back this up with flossing at least once every day to ensure the tartar is removed from the areas your toothbrush cannot reach.
Eat a balanced healthy diet, keeping snacks to a minimum and visit your dentist every six months for a check-up and professional cleaning. Your dentist is your Oral Guru. He or she will know what is best for you as an individual to have healthy teeth and a charming smile for the whole of your life.
Phuket Cosmetic Dental Clinic
16/1 Hongyok-U-Thit Rd., Taladyai, Muang, Phuket 83000
Tel: +66 (0) 76 236 823
Fax: +66 (0) 76 236 824