Do You Have Gum Disease? Here Are Some Common Indicators.

Gum disease is a serious health issue in the United States today. While some of its effects—such as tooth loss—are obvious, many less well-known effects are equally pernicious. Gum disease can directly contribute to heart problems and infections elsewhere in the body. Because it tends to be undiscovered until it is in its more advanced stages—in fact, nearly half of adults have some stage of gum disease—it is something requiring vigilance to guard against. With this in mind, it’s wise to know the signs of gum disease and what you may do if you discover that you have it.

What is gum disease?

Gum disease is caused when bacteria on the teeth forms a substance known as plaque. The plaque can cause trauma to the gums along with the earlier symptoms of the disease. At its beginning stages, gum disease is known as gingivitis and is easily reversible with proper treatment.

As the disease progresses, the symptoms become worse, and some of the damage may be permanent. Gums will pull away from the teeth and tooth loss may occur. People with advanced gum disease are at an increased risk for heart disease and even some forms of cancer.

Signs of gum disease

Some of the early symptoms of gum disease are bad breath which seems to persist regardless of remedial actions, red and sore gums, gums that bleed (this may occur when brushing or flossing, but can occur at other times as well), and pain in your gums when you are chewing.

As the disease progresses the symptoms will become worse. The teeth may begin to wiggle and your dentures may no longer fit properly. Further, your teeth may not fit together when you chew the way they once did.

Treatment

Prevention is of course the best treatment. Regularly perform oral hygiene tasks such as brushing, flossing, and having your teeth cleaned by the dentist at least every six months. If you do develop gum disease, your dentist may use antibiotics or other measures to fight it. If you have developed any of the symptoms noted above, you should immediately see your dentist and have the issue addressed before it progresses.

What Is the Best Toothpaste For You?

Walk into the store and go to the toothpaste section. The varieties of toothpaste are nearly endless: various flavors, sizes, and ingredients, not to mention the different functions the various toothpastes claim to serve. With so many choices in front of you, how can you hope to choose the right one?

Here are a few pointers to help you narrow down the section.

Things to look for in a toothpaste

First and foremost, you want to be sure that the toothpaste you are considering is approved by the ADA. You don’t just want to smear some minty paste around your mouth; you want to be sure that the product works the way it is supposed to. The ADA seal is an indicator that the toothpaste passes muster and is appropriate for cleaning your teeth.

Next, you want to be sure that the toothpaste contains fluoride. Fluoride strengthens your teeth and makes them less prone to cavities. Some municipalities add it to their drinking water; if yours does not, you need to make sure that your toothpaste has this mineral.

If you have small children who frequently forget (or just neglect) to brush, look for a toothpaste that they will enjoy using. As you probably know, getting a child to do a good job at something that he or she doesn’t want to do can be a challenge to say the least. By giving them a flavor they like (such as bubble gum) or choosing fun packaging and/or dispensers you can help your cause and head off any bedtime battles.

Finally, consider what your needs are. Do you have some tough stains that just won’t come out? Consider a whitening toothpaste. Do you have sensitive teeth? They make toothpaste especially for use on teeth such as yours. Do you prefer more natural pastes? Some manufacturers offer toothpastes made out of more traditional ingredients such as baking soda.

As far as the form of the toothpaste, both gels and traditional pastes deliver the same benefits. Functionally speaking, there isn’t much of a difference between the two, so just pick whichever form you prefer.