Regular brushing and flossing in addition to yearly cleanings by your dentist is necessary to maintain the health of your teeth and gums. Poor dental care leads to a number of problems which will pose challenges for brushing your teeth; indeed, your daily dental care regimen may cause or prevent many issues from gum disease and enamel erosion to gingivitis. Some patients even suffer from crowded teeth, require orthodontic treatments, or are dealing with erupting wisdom teeth, all conditions that further complicate the process of brushing your teeth.

Gum disease, enamel erosion, and gingivitis are three common conditions that affect adult teeth and gums, and all are preventable. While gum disease is a blanket term that may be applied to gingivitis, it is also known as periodontitis. Gingivitis is the mildest form of gum disease, but can still pose significant problems with regards to brushing your teeth. Gingivitis causes the gums to become red and swollen and subsequently to bleed more easily. Brushing your teeth when you suffer from gingivitis can cause mild discomfort; yet in more severe cases of gingivitis, teeth become mobile as bone support is lost due to bone resorption (the bone in the jaw is broken down) and teeth may become sensitive as roots are exposed.

Left untreated, gingivitis leads to a more advanced and serious condition known as periodontitis. Plaque builds up on the teeth and spreads below the gum line. Consequently, bacteria that live in the plaque release toxins that activate a chronic inflammatory response that leads to the break-down of bone and tissues supporting the teeth. Abscesses form in the gaps between the teeth and gums and as periodontitis progresses teeth may need to be removed.