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The Importance of Dental Hygiene in Preventing Gum Disease

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It is very important to have a good oral hygiene routine or you may develop tooth decay or gum disease, which may result in tooth loss.

You should:
• Brush your teeth at least twice a day
• Use a small-headed toothbrush
• Brush from one side of the mouth to the other side and make sure you don’t miss anywhere
• Consider using an electric toothbrush as they are considered more effective at removing plaque and you won't risk applying too much pressure

• Brush for at least two minutes each time you clean your teeth -- any less will not get the job done properly
• Get a new toothbrush every two to three months
• Consider flossing -- this removes plaque from between the teeth
• Make sure your diet is good -- poor diet and too much sugar can cause tooth decay and gum disease so having a healthy diet contributes to having healthy teeth and gums.

Sometimes, dental problems and gum disease occur not as the result of poor hygiene but because of another medical condition or trigger. Factors that can cause poor oral health include diabetes (which can sometimes appear as gum disease), hormonal changes (menstruation, pregnancy and hormonal contraceptives can trigger bleeding gums), herpes simplex virus (this can cause mouth ulcers and inflamed gums), anemia (if you are low on iron this decreases the oxygen available to your gums and causes them to shrink) and persistent oral thrush.

Certain cancers can also cause gum disease, such as cancer of the head and neck. Chemotherapy treatments can result in bleeding gums and tooth loss. In systemic diseases where the person has reduced immune system function, severe gum disease often occurs.

Medications like anti-seizure and antidepressants are known to cause changes to the gum tissue, resulting in gum disease. Anti-psychotics, high blood pressure drugs, morphine, muscle relaxants and antihistamines can also do this.

Drinking too much alcohol and smoking cause poor oral health. If you drink or smoke and you are experiencing gum problems, reduce or stop your consumption.

If you have any of the medical conditions listed or you are pregnant, it is even more important to maintain good dental hygiene.

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EmpowHER Guest

Most people know the importance of a regular check up with their family doctor to ensure that they maintain the best health they can. They also understand the importance of preventative medical care that can halt disease and illness before they progress.

Metagenics Ostaderm

November 24, 2011 - 4:17am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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