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10 reasons why Malaysians should be talking about gum health

Systema recently launched a free gum health check website as part of “Systema Gumbatte Towards 1 Million Gum Health Checks” awareness campaign 2019.

With the collaboration of the Malaysian Dental Association, the campaign aims to help Malaysians achieve better oral health outcomes with the ultimate goal of motivating more people to retain 20 of their natural teeth when they are 60 years and older. (The average person has 32 teeth in total.)

On March 19, Systema organised the “Gum Health Forum for Sarawak” at Pullman Kuching to introduce the campaign as well as their Advance Anti-Plaque Toothpaste for Sarawak.

Here are 10 important things KajoMag learned about gum health from the forum:

1.Gum disease has overtaken cavities as the leading cause of tooth loss in adults.

This is due to prolonged plaque build-up in between teeth, along the gum lines and in gum pockets due to poor brushing habits and usually remains undetected for long periods of time.

2. 9 out of 10 Malaysian adults suffer from gum disease.

A 2010 study conducted by Lion Corporation on 450 Malaysian adults revealed that 80% of respondents had at least one visible sign and symptom of gum disease, the most common symptoms being bleeding and swollen gums. Only 1% realise that they have gum disease.

3. The main cause of gum disease is plaque

Plaque is the soft sticky film that covers your teeth after you have food or drink. It also contains billions of bacteria. When plaque builds up in between teeth, along the gum line and inside gum pockets, the toxin from the bacteria will damage gum tissues.

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4. Periodontal disease can affect the health of the whole body

Studies have shown that your poor oral health can increase chances of cardiac disease, pneumonia, diabetes, and premature birth.

5. How do you know that you have a good gum health?

Your gums should be pink in colour, not red. Healthy gums also leads to healthy bones.

6. There are two types of gum disease

The two types of gum disease are called gingivitis and periodontitis. The good news is gingivitis is reversible by brushing your teeth while periodontitis is irreversible.

Periodontitis is when your gums become inflamed, turn red and your gums bleed easily when you brush. If left unchecked, it can then spread into the gums and into the bones and ligaments supporting your teeth, loosening them.

How to take care of your gums?
You can get rid of gingivitis by brushing your teeth. Credits: Pexels.

7. Mouthwash is not essential to gum health

According to Dr Tie Sing Fong from Sarawak Health Department who spoke during the forum, mouthwash was invented for people who were not able to brush their teeth, such as people who suffer from Parkinson’s disease.

Corporate companies have turned them into commercial products which Dr Tie believed were not necessary to use.

8. Flossing is an important part of your oral health care

Dr Tie stressed that flossing was important to do every day, if not every alternate day.

9. It is not necessary to brush your teeth after every meal.

The main cause of gum disease is plaque. According to Dr Tie, plaque is only formed between two to four hours after you eat something. Hence, brushing your teeth twice a day is sufficient enough.

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10. Should you rinse your mouth after brushing or keep the toothpaste in?

There is a belief that you should not rinse your mouth after brushing your teeth. It is believed to be better for overall dental health to leave some toothpaste in your mouth for better oral care. Once again, Dr Tie debunked this myth, citing a study that there was not much difference if you rinsed or not after brushing your teeth.

Patricia Hului
Patricia Hului is a Kayan who wants to live in a world where you can eat whatever you want and not gain weight. She grew up in Bintulu, Sarawak and graduated from the University Malaysia Sabah with a degree in Marine Science. She worked for The Borneo Post SEEDS, which is now defunct. When she's not writing, you can find her in a studio taking belly dance classes, hiking up a hill or browsing through Pinterest. Follow her on Instagram at @patriciahului, Facebook at Patricia Hului at Kajomag.com or Twitter at @patriciahului.
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