From my observations, many people tend to be passive participants, leaving their oral health in the hands of their dental practitioners. Most people go to their dental clinic expecting that the dentist alone can prevent the onslaught of gum disease, abdicating their home care diligence in favour of bi-annual dental checkups. One dentist I know likes to use this phrase to coax patients into improving their oral hygiene practice at home: “Only brush & floss the teeth you want to keep!” While this phrase is always guaranteed to get a smile out of the patients, unfortunately, it makes light of a very serious issue. Tooth loss, after all, is not the most significant potential outcome of gum disease. In fact, gum disease has long been linked and associated with serious conditions like heart disease, stroke, cancer, arthritis, diabetes, pre-term births and others.
Given the list of unpleasant symptoms of gum disease that are both socially undesirable and physically painful:
1) Red, swollen, and puffy gums
2) Horribly bad breath
3) Bleeding gum tissue
4) Tooth and bone loss
…it is truly a wonder to me, that in this day and age, gum disease is still the most common human disease in the world, affecting ~75% of the adult population even in North America.