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Preventing Gum Disease

richterGum disease can be caused by a number of factors, but poor oral hygiene is the most common cause. Poor oral hygiene, such as not brushing your teeth properly or regularly, can cause plaque to build up on your teeth.

Your mouth is full of bacteria that combine with saliva to form a sticky film known as plaque, which builds up on your teeth.

When you consume foods and drinks high in carbohydrates (sugary or starchy foods), bacteria in plaque turn carbohydrates into the energy they need, producing acid at the same time. Over time, acid in plaque begins to break down your tooth’s surface and causes tooth decay.

Other bacteria in plaque can also irritate your gums, making them inflamed and sore.

Plaque is usually easy to remove by brushing and flossing your teeth, but it can harden and form a substance called tartar if it’s not removed. Tartar sticks much more firmly to teeth than plaque and can usually only be removed by a dentist or dental hygienist.

Utilizing a Waterpik is also wonderful for removing plaque that builds up in the hard-to-reach-spaces between your teeth and in the ridges of your gums.

Chewing sugar-free gum also helps stimulate saliva and removes and prevents plaque. Finally, keeping hydrated is of critical importance in the fight against plaque.

Source: Jonathan Richter, DDS, FAGD, of Cardiodontal (310 E. Shore Rd., Ste. 101, Great Neck). For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 516-282-0310.

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