Adults - Dental Facts

Remember, removing plaque once a day, will prevent cavities and gum disease

The health of your gums, teeth and mouth are very important to your overall health. There is definitive research which shows the connection between poor oral health and systemic disease such as diabetes in people of all ages and respiratory diseases particularly among elderly people. New research is now pointing to possible connections between oral health and other systemic conditions such as heart disease and premature, low birth weight babies. Although researchers are still learning about the links between oral health and general health, oral disease itself can cause pain, tooth loss and bad breath.

How should I brush my teeth?

Use a soft toothbrush
Point the bristles toward the gums
Gently wiggle the toothbrush back and forth
Brush all sides of your teeth

- the inside (tongue side)
- the outside (cheek side)
- the top where you chew
- brush your tongue

How should I floss my teeth?

Pull out 40 - 50 cm of dental floss from the container.
Wrap the ends of the floss around each of your middle fingers, leaving about 2 - 3 cm of floss between your two fingers.
Use your thumb and index fingers to hold the floss in place.
Wrap the floss around the tooth into a "C" shape.
Gently slide the floss up and down between your tooth and your gums.
This will remove dental plaque.
Use a new section of floss each time you move to a new space between teeth.

How does oral health affect my overall health?

Gum disease is an inflammation of the gums, which may also affect the bone supporting the teeth. Plaque is a sticky colourless film of bacteria that constantly builds up, thickens and hardens on the teeth. If it is not removed by daily brushing and flossing, this plaque can harden into tartar and contribute to infections in the gums.

Left untreated, gum disease can lead to the loss of teeth and an increased risk of more serious diseases, including heart disease and stroke. The bacteria in plaque can travel from the mouth into the bloodstream, and has been linked to the clogging of arteries and damage to heart valves. The same bacteria can also travel to the lungs, causing infection or aggravating existing lung conditions.

There is also a link between diabetes and gum disease. People with diabetes are more susceptible to gum disease, and it can put them at greater risk of diabetic complications.

Oral health is also extremely important for pregnant women
Studies show that pregnant women with gum disease are at higher risk of delivering pre-term, low birth weight babies than women without gum disease. This is a concern because such babies are already at increased risk of many ailments, including developmental complications, asthma, ear infections, congenital abnormalities and behavioral difficulties, such as attention deficit disorder. They also have a higher risk of infant death.