Summary : Gum disease is the major cause of tooth loss in patients over 40 years old. The progression of the disease is slow and creeping and its onset may not be realised until its too late. Avoid gum disease by brushing twice a day, flossing your teeth and visiting the dental hygenist every six months.
Hard deposits on your teeth may eventually lead to bone loss and subsequent loss of the teeth. the lower incisors are especially prone to this for two reasons, firstly the saliva ducts wash saliva along the back of the teeth. secondly the bone around these teeth tends to be thinner and therefore only a little lost makes a big difference.
The majority of plaque is made up of bacteria which live in our mouths. After cleaning our teeth the bacteria in our saliva will start to reform on the surface of the tooth.
Toothbrushing may not be enough in order to maintain healthy gums. Adjuncts such as interdental brushes may be used to get between gaps where teeth have been lost or drifted.
Mouthwashes should be selected carefully, as certain brands are unhealthy for your gums while others if abused may cause staining of your teeth.

Chlorhexidine - this mouthwash which is marketed as Corsydl is effective in reducing gingivitis. Its main draw back is that with constant use it may stain the teeth brown.

Some mouthwashes contain as much as 30% alcohol and their long term use is not advised due to the risk of oral cancer.

A good toothbrush is essential for efficient cleaning of your teeth and gums. Several points should be considered when choosing a toothbrush. See our section on toothbrushing.