In the US today, the majority of the population gets gum disease (or at least pre-gingivitis) at some point in life and almost everyone has one or more fillings in their mouth from past cavities. Part of the reason for this reality is the relatively unhealthy diet that typifies modern American culture.
Taking good care of your gums is a huge part of protecting your overall oral health - but for more reasons than you might realize. Periodontal disease has multiple negative impacts, which extend far beyond just the immediate deterioration of the gums themselves.
Your gums are the first line of defense against infection of your tooth roots, which can quickly lead to tooth loss. Furthermore, periodontal health is a barometer of overall body health since gum infections can spread to other parts of the body and other health problems often cause gum problems.
The number one enemy of healthy teeth and gums is poor dental hygiene. By taking good care of your teeth and gums from day to day, you greatly reduce the risk of all manner of dental and periodontal problems.
Toothbrushes have been with us, in one form or another, for thousands of years. The more or less modern concept was invented in China in 1498, and the brush with nylon bristles so familiar to us today first saw the light of day in the 1930s.