Scaling means ‘scraping away.’ You can scale old food, tartar, or even a fish
bone caught under the gum. You usually scale teeth to remove tartar.
We get tartar when the coating
of germs on our teeth (page 50)
Gums that press against tartar
become sore and infected.
Clean teeth keep our gums healthy. Scaling a person’s teeth gives infected
gums a chance to become normal again.
However, gums remain healthy only when we keep the teeth beside
them clean. If we are not careful about cleaning our teeth after they are
scaled, tartar will soon return. Instead of being healthy, the gums will
become sore and infected again.
Scale a person’s teeth, but also teach how to keep teeth clean.
You must remove something caught under the gums (page 133) before it
causes more pain and swelling. Remove a piece of fish bone or piece of
mango string now.
If the person has a mild gum problem (gums that bleed), wait a week or so
before scaling. If the person uses this time to clean his teeth better and to
rinse with warm salt water (page 7), the gums will improve. The person’s
teeth will be easier for you to scale, and he will learn that he can do much by
himself to care for the gums.
Use a mirror to show the person gum infection inside his own mouth.
Later he can see the improvement he has made. He can learn about how to
keep gums healthy as he follows his own progress.
Scale a person’s teeth only when he really wants to try to keep them
clean. If he does not want to clean his teeth, the tartar will soon return. Do not
waste your time scaling the teeth of a person who does not want to learn.