Why is addressing gum disease important?
The grim facts speak for themselves:
Over 90% of adults have some form of active gum disease by the age of 30.
A whopping 65% of children already show signs of active gum disease by the time they are 15 years old!
Given these sad statistics, we consider gum disease to be the elephant in the living room when it comes to oral health.
After all, if what we as a culture were doing was working, doesn’t it seem to you that these sad statistics would be much lower?
But you’re here looking for solutions.
That tells us a lot about you. You’re not satisfied with being a sad statistic. Unlike so many, you’re spending your own time to research other options for you and your family.
We are with you every step of this journey. We’ve been researching this subject of how to navigate the path to optimal oral health for over 20 years now. We’ve learned a several strategies and best practices and share these strategies with the world. Today let’s explore one of these powerful strategies…
Why oral health?
Our dream is to help the world have more smiles in it.
Call us romantic if you must, but we believe that as more and more of us have confidence that our mouths are healthy, that our breath is fresh, and that we aren’t losing the battle of tooth decay, more of us will choose to smile and make the world a happier and healthier place. (After all, the research clearly shows that smiling is good for your health and happiness!)
How it gets started…
What starts as a little tenderness and swelling between molars turns to gums bleeding when flossing and chronic bad breath. This then leads to receding gums and loose teeth, and eventually, even adult tooth loss.
Unfortunately, gum disease isn’t just about chronic bad breath and bleeding gums. Besides being the #1 cause of adult tooth loss, there is also a clear link between active gum disease and chronic health issues.
Whether we are talking about arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, or even cancer, research has found that an imbalanced oral flora and increased populations of ‘thug bugs’ in our mouths contribute to suppressing immunity, the breakdown of our systems, and ultimately disease. And it makes sense! If you think about it, gum disease is a rampant bacterial infection with direct access to the whole body via the bloodstream!
We must do more than brush our teeth to create optimal health.
Through specific oral hygiene habits, we can actually lower the incidence of thug bugs in our mouths and the risk of allowing a chronic inflammatory cascade from undermining our health of the body.
Clues About Gum Disease From History
Thankfully, we can look back in history to find evidence unvarnished by greed or political agendas to learn how we can address gum disease.
We are proud to stand on the shoulders of giants like Weston A Price, Ralph Steinman, and Edward and May Mellanby. But today, we’d like to highlight Dr. Charles C. Bass, one of the first to shed light on the subject of gum disease.
Dr. Bass was a remarkable man. He was the youngest person to become a dean of a medical school, and the first person to carry a microscope west of the Mississippi River.
Most remarkably, when Dr. Bass was diagnosed with advanced gum disease and instructed by his dentist to have all of his teeth extracted, he decided to take things into his own hands and do some research (just like you, you hero!).
(Being a parasitologist, Dr. Bass had already discovered parasites through the use of his microscope.) Dr. Bass put his skills toward figuring out what was causing the destruction in his mouth.
Using his microscope, he easily identified the same ‘”thug bugs” that plague most mouths today. He then set out to figure out a technique that would help to disrupt and remove the thug bugs from his mouth. Through extensive trial and error, Dr. Bass created a toothbrush and method that effectively disrupts and removes bacteria from the teeth and gums.
As an example of history, Dr. Bass died an old man with all his natural teeth intact.
Why The Bass Brushing Technique Works
The Bass brushing technique works because the focus is on disrupting and removing the bacteria that accumulate along and under the gum line as well as between the teeth. Created by extensive trial and error, the Bass brushing technique is very effective at reducing gum disease when used correctly.
To be able to use the technique effectively, we must understand that the “thug bugs” related to gum disease organize along and under the gum line, especially between the molars. Therefore our focus must be to gently wiggle the bristles down into these areas to break up the bacteria’s colonization efforts.
Unfortunately, signs of early gum disease are swollen, red, tender gums. Without the conscious awareness that these are signs of gum disease, most people avoid brushing the infected area due to discomfort around the swollen gums. This allows the infection to continue unhindered.
The Right Tool for the Job
What we have from Dr. Bass’ life are the Bass toothbrush and the Bass brushing technique.
The Bass toothbrush differs from most toothbrushes in two ways:
1. The bristles of a Bass toothbrush are more spaced out, and there are fewer bristles on the brush head. What Dr. Bass found was that most toothbrushes had far too many bristles to wiggle effectively between the teeth and down into the gum line. So, he created a brush with fewer bristles that allows the brush to get down where the thug bugs thrive and disrupt their colonizing efforts. The same is true today as most conventional toothbrushes have too many bristles to use the Bass brushing technique effectively.
2. The second way the Bass toothbrush differs from other toothbrushes is that the bristle tips of the Bass brush are rounded, polished and very smooth. See the photos below to compare the rounded bristle tips of the Bass toothbrush and the jagged, rough-cut tips of many other toothbrushes.
Left: rounded, polished bristle tips of the Bass toothbrush
Right: jagged, rough cut bristles of other toothbrushes
Instructions for the Bass Brushing Technique
1. Hold the toothbrush gently! We like to joke that we’re not cleaning a grout line here! Rather than hold the toothbrush like a scrub brush, press it gently so your arm can relax and apply the small movements required for the Bass brushing technique.
2. Hold the brush at the commonly recognized 45-degree angle to the tooth and gum line.
3. Think small. The main difference in the Bass technique is how small the movements are. The Bass brushing technique uses subtle lateral strokes along the gum line.
It’s almost like you aren’t “brushing” your teeth at all!
Rather, place the toothbrush at a spot along the gum line and gently wiggle it with slight, subtle back-and-forth motions that get the bristles down between the teeth and under the gum line.
4. Count to five, then move to the next place with your brush and repeat.
The small motion takes practice, but in time, you will be amazed at how much healthier your gums feel!
Your Teeth Will Thank You Too!
Another significant problem with conventional brushing methods is that they damage the protective outer layer (enamel) of your teeth. Take a look at the following facts:
- Research has shown that many folks brush their teeth too hard and ultimately damage their enamel.
- Many toothbrushes have rough cut bristles (rather than the rounded-tip bristles on the Bass brushes) that can scratch enamel and irritate gum tissue.
- A contributing cause of receding gums is brushing the sensitive gum tissue too hard, with a toothbrush with rough cut bristles!
Putting these factors together creates a situation where many people may be doing more harm than good when brushing!
So, rather than dragging your toothbrush over the surface of the teeth, try out the Bass technique and see how it feels!
Watch the instructional video showing the Bass brushing technique below to get a clearer picture of how to brush your teeth to reduce the risk of gum disease.
Now you know how to brush your teeth to reduce gum disease!
If you’d like to also learn how to support your teeth, stop tooth decay, and reverse cavities, feel free to download our FREE resource guide, “How to Remineralize Your Teeth”.
Finally, have you tried the Bass brushing technique?
Do you have questions or feedback about the method? As always, we love to keep the discussion going in the comments below!
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