Did you know that half of people aged 30 or older will have gum disease at some point in their lives? These numbers are alarmingly high, which is why it’s more important than ever for us to take care of our oral health. Initial warning signs for periodontal disease are bleeding, red and swollen gums, or bad breath.
Luckily, we have some great tips to help you prevent gum disease.
What is gum disease?
Gum disease is a bacterial infection in the gums and bone that support your teeth. There are two main types. If only the gum is infected, then it is gingivitis, and with treatment, this is reversible. If the gum and the jawbone are infected, then it is periodontitis and is more serious. The plaque bacteria grow underneath the gum and start breaking down the attachment of the tooth to the gum and jaw bone. This leads to the formation of a space between the tooth and the gum/bone called a periodontal pocket.
Gum disease prevention tips
Brush twice a day
Brush your teeth after every meal. This will help remove the food and plaque trapped between your teeth and gums. Scrub your tongue, too, because it can hide bacteria. You can also opt for a battery-powered or electric toothbrush as these can help reduce gingivitis and plaque more than manual brushing. Be sure to swap toothbrushes or toothbrush heads every three to four months, or sooner if the bristles start to fray.
Use the right toothpaste
Store shelves contain many brands that claim to reduce gingivitis, freshen breath, and whiten teeth. But how do you know which one is best for healthy gums? Well, be sure to choose toothpaste that contains fluoride. If you’re unsure of what toothpaste is best for your needs, simply ask your dentist.
Use a therapeutic mouthwash
Ask your dentist about over the counter or prescription therapeutic mouthwashes that can help prevent, reduce plaque, or reduce gingivitis, reduce the speed that tartar develops, or a combination of these benefits. A mouthwash rinse will remove food particles and debris from your mouth.
Daily flossing is an absolute necessity. Unlike brushing, floss gets in between gum line and teeth and removes plaque buildup in these areas. Naturally, less plaque substantially decreases your chances of getting gum disease.
Visit your dentist
Your dentist can detect early symptoms of gum disease if you visit them regularly. If your dentist picks up symptoms early, they can treat them before they become more serious. A professional cleaning remains the only way to remove tartar, and it can also get rid of any plaque you missed when flossing or brushing. Regular cleanings can also help reverse gingivitis- the early stage of gum disease.
There’s a strong correlation between smoking and the onset of gum disease. Since smoking also weakens your immune system, making it harder to fight off a gum infection. Plus, smoking slows down your gums’ healing ability.
Manage your diet
An anti-inflammatory diet includes lots of leafy, green vegetables, beans, legumes, raw fruits, nuts, and lean meats such as oily fish. Since gum disease is an inflammatory disease, foods that are known inflammation fighters are important to include if you want to prevent gum disease.
For people with diabetes, keeping blood sugar levels well-controlled will help to reduce the risk of gum disease. Also, try to avoid sugary drinks and foods, especially between meals. Instead, drink more water.
The bottom line about gum disease
Prevention is always better than cure. Healthy teeth and gums all start with good oral hygiene. Our Hygiene Team, lead by Benita Matthews, will partner with you to make sure your smile is well taken care of. Contact us today to make an appointment.