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Dental diseases are defined as a variety of disorders that affect the gums, teeth, and bone that holds the teeth in place. Nearly 85 percent of the world's population has some form of dental disease, all of which are preventable.

The gum tissue that hugs your teeth is referred to as gingiva. The gingiva, bones that form tooth sockets, and surrounding ligaments are known as periodontium. Gum and periodontal diseases stem primarily from these areas. Bleeding, swelling, discomfort, pain, receding gums, and loose teeth are all signs of dental disease.

Common symptoms of tooth decay include pain in tooth or ear, a broken tooth, and sometimes bad breath. Broken, cracked, or damaged teeth should be seen by a dental professional immediately to prevent the damaging effects of decay. People from all ages can suffer decay. Proper oral hygiene and regular dental visits can help to prevent decay.

A build up of plaque on teeth is what causes cavities. Large amounts of bacteria that are not removed by brushing, flossing, or properly caring for teeth and gums turn into plaque, which is the most common cause of tooth cavities.

Gum disease occurs in three stages: gingivitis, periodontitis, and advanced periodontitis.

Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums and the initial stage of gum disease. At this level, gum disease is easy to treat. Gingivitis is caused by a build up of plaque around the gum line. During this early stage, damage can be reversed since bone and tissue that hold the teeth in place have not yet been damaged.

Periodontitis occurs when untreated inflammation and gingivitis spread to the roots of the teeth. During this second stage of disease, the plaque penetrates into the gum tissue and begins to affect the underlying healthy bone. Gums tend to recede from teeth, and gum pockets form in which more plaque, food, and bacteria collect.

Advanced periodontitis, or pyorrhea, is diagnosed when major gum recession and severe bone loss have already occurred. At this stage of gum disease, teeth are often too loose to be saved and often have to be removed from the mouth.

Preventing tooth loss, tooth decay, and gum disease is as simple as caring for your mouth on a daily basis. Regular care keeps your mouth germ and bacteria free, promoting healthy teeth and gums.

Brushing your teeth is one of the easiest ways to help prevent gum and dental diseases. Use a soft toothbrush and a gentle, circular, massaging motion at least three times daily. An effective brushing should last 2-3 minutes. The average person brushes as little as 30 seconds at a time. Time yourself until you're certain you're brushing long enough to adequately clean your teeth and gums.

In order to prevent serious build up, teeth need to be brushed at least once every 24-36 hours, though brushing after every meal is encouraged.

Gum Massage: gently massage the gums in a circular motion. This will help to loosen debris and avoid the formation of gum pockets and infection.

Flossing: This helps to clean out debris and plaque from areas your toothbrush cannot reach. Trapped food, bacteria, and plaque all lead to gum disease and tooth loss. Flossing should be done with A.D.A. approved floss, twice daily and before bedtime. Begin with your back teeth and move forward. Follow flossing with a thorough rinsing to further remove debris.

Tongue Scraping: This can be done with a commercial scraper or gentle toothbrush. Tongue scraping helps to prevent bacteria build up and will also ensure a fresh, clean smelling mouth.

Electric toothbrush systems come highly recommended by most dentists. Not only do they give your mouth a more thorough cleaning, but they also aid in stimulating your gums.

Medications used for diseases like hypertension, heart disease, asthma ,and epilepsy can all cause inflammation and swelling of the gums. If good hygiene does not control swelling, see your physician.

Mouthwashes containing alcohol can irritate and dry gum tissue. Try gargling with hydrogen peroxide or a non-drying mouthwash made of baking soda and water instead.

Brush with toothpastes containing aloe vera or baking soda a few times a week. These ingredients are more soothing to gum tissue than pastes containing harsh mints and chemicals. A blend of baking soda and salt can also help to reduce tartar build up and give you a brisk brushing.

Aloe vera can help to soothe, heal, and treat sore and inflamed gums. Place aloe vera gel on a cotton swab and apply to gums as often as necessary.

Goldenseal can aid in naturally cleansing the teeth, in addition to a fluoride-based toothpaste. Mix goldenseal with baking soda and prepare as a paste.

Garlic has been used for centuries as a natural antibiotic and pain reliever. When tooth pain is present, slice into a clove of garlic and place on irritated gum. Bite down hard for twenty seconds. The antibiotic properties of garlic will help to aid the infection and soothe your pain.

There are times when brushing is impossible. Dinner meetings, unexpected trips, and long hours at work can all lead to poor oral hygiene. Just because you don't have a toothbrush handy, however, doesn't mean your mouth has to suffer. Try these brush free alternatives:

Rinse. Rinsing your mouth (even with water) after eating can help to remove debris and plaque buildup. For added cleansing, carry a small bottle of fluoride-based mouthwash with you.

Chew gum. Chewing sugar free gum after meals is a dentist-approved measure that will remove plaque, debris, and bacteria.

Toothpicks. There's a reason why these little wooden wonders are available to you after eating. They work. Traditional toothpicks or the newer balsa wood wedge-style toothpicks work well when it comes to cleaning between gums and teeth.

Use your finger to gently massage teeth and gums after a meal. Rinse with water.

Prolonged bleeding from gums
Tooth damage (including cracks, breaks, and broken fillings)
Bad breath
Inflamed gums
Sore teeth or gums

As with most things, it is easier to prevent dental problems than cure them. See a dentist at least twice a year and practice good oral hygiene to ensure the long life of your teeth.