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Gum disease is a big problem, affecting 75 per cent of Americans over their lifetime and acting as a major cause of tooth loss, as well as contributing to a range of other health problems.
The Columbia Tribune has spoken to experts and come up with a number of preventative measures people can take to stave off gum disease, starting with flossing. It recommends flossing before brushing, or using a tooth pick or interdental cleaner, in order to remove any bacteria between the teeth.
The newspaper spoke to dentist Dr Ron Schefdore, who suggested that the whole mouth should be given a once-over with a toothbrush as there is more bacteria on the tongue and the roof of the mouth than on the teeth.
Meanwhile, Dr Christine Wu from the Chicago College of Dentistry informed the Tribune that rinsing with black tea could reduce plaque formation and the production of acids that cause tooth decay.
Finally, to ensure teeth are brushed for an adequate amount of time, June Lee, spokeswoman for the Academy of General Dentistry, advocated turning up the radio or iPod and brushing for the length of a song.
Gum disease has been linked with an increased risk of cardiovascular problems, diabetes and cancer.
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