Where There Is No Dentist 2012 53
Infection in the gums is called gum disease. It is important to treat gum
disease early, before it can spread to the root fibers and the bone.
If you have sore, bleeding
gums, you can do much to
treat the infection yourself.
1. Clean your teeth with a soft
brush gently and more often
(see pages 69 to 72).
2. Eat more fresh fruits and
3. Rinse your mouth with warm
4. Clean between your teeth
with dental floss or string. At
first your gums may bleed
when you do this. But when
the gums are stronger the
bleeding will stop (p. 71-72).
1. Have the students look in each other’s mouths.
Can they see the coating on the teeth? Usually
they cannot. They may see food or ‘white stuff,’
but this is not the coating that makes acid.
However, if someone has been chewing betel nut
or eating berries, you will see stains on her teeth
and the stains will be darkest where she has
these colonies of germs on her teeth.
2. Put something on the teeth to stain the colonies of germs. Try using
food dye, betel nut or berry juices. Remember: first wash your hands!
Older students can rub berries on the teeth of the younger ones. Have
them rinse with a little water and spit it out. After this, the colored areas
on the teeth will show where the colonies of germs are forming. Where
are they? Usually you will see the dark colors:
• between the teeth.
• in the pits or holes in the teeth.
• on the tops (biting surfaces) of the teeth.
The older students can show the younger ones the best way to clean
teeth (see pages 69–72). Have them use a mirror to see if they are getting
the colored juice from their teeth. They will learn that it is most difficult
to get rid of the color between their teeth. Give them some string, dental
floss, or the soft stem from a young palm leaf and show them how to use
it between their teeth. Remind them to be gentle, or they will hurt their
gums. Clean between your teeth every day.