Keeping your gums healthy is an incredibly important part of your overall oral hygiene. Check out this article to find a complete guide on how to prevent gum disease.
You know the health of your teeth is important - but do you know how to prevent gum disease?
It's easy to forget that your gums are an important part of your oral health. However, this is the part of your mouth most prone to disease. Your teeth can't be healthy without healthy gums.
You can feel like you're doing everything right, but still be at risk for gum disease. In this guide, we'll teach you exactly how to prevent periodontal disease, so you can keep your whole mouth healthy. Keep reading before you reach for your toothbrush!
What is Gum Disease?
Periodontal or gum disease means the tissues that keep your teeth in place have become infected. Most of the time, issues with your flossing and brushing habits are the culprit. If you don't properly clean your teeth and gums, plaque (made of bacteria) will build up on the surface of the teeth and become hard.
Advanced periodontal disease can result in bleeding or painful gums, pain while eating, and even the loss of your teeth. Fortunately, it's not hard to prevent periodontal disease.
Causes of Periodontal Disease
Let's take a closer look at how this issue can develop.
Your mouth always has bacteria inside it. These bacteria form an invisible, sticky plaque on your teeth, which is why you need to brush and floss regularly to remove it. When you don't successfully remove plaque, it hardens into tartar, which can't be removed by brushing.
When a dentist or dental hygienist cleans your teeth, one of the things they're doing is removing any built-up tartar. The better you care for your teeth, the quicker and easier your dental visits will be.
Keeping your teeth clean can help prevent the tartar buildup that leads to gum disease. However, there are some risk factors that can make you more susceptible to periodontal disease.
Smoking is one major risk factor. Other risk factors include hormonal changes, diabetes, certain medications and illnesses, and genetics.
Periodontal Disease Symptoms
When you have gum disease, a number of symptoms might be present. You may start to have bad breath you can't get rid of. You might have red, swollen, painful, or bleeding gums.
Pain during eating and sensitive teeth are other telltale signs of periodontal disease. If the disease is advanced, you could have loose teeth or receding gums.
Periodontal Disease Diagnosis
When you go to the dentist, the dentist or hygienist will examine your gums for inflammation. They'll also use a probe to check out the pockets around your teeth. If your mouth is healthy, those pockets will be smaller than if you have gum disease.
They'll also ask about your medical history to look for risk factors. An x-ray can help them see if you have bone loss in your teeth.
If you have gum disease that needs treatment, they might refer you to a periodontist. These specialists focus on diagnosing and treating gum disease and might have other treatment options for you to try.
Periodontal Disease Treatment
Treatment mainly seeks to control the infection that's causing your periodontal disease. The severity of your gum disease will determine what types of treatment are needed.
However, no matter what type of treatment is recommended, you'll also need to work to maintain the health of your teeth on your own. You may have to give up habits, such as smoking, that are contributing to the disease.
How to Prevent Gum Disease
Want to avoid this whole process? Then you'll need to know some gum disease prevention techniques. Here are some ways to reduce your chances of periodontal disease.
1. Keep Your Teeth Clean
This is the simplest and most obvious way to prevent gum disease, but it still deserves a mention. The most important thing you can do to help keep periodontal disease away is brush and floss thoroughly and regularly.
Use a fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day, and floss regularly to get rid of the plaque between your teeth.
2. Eat Calcium and Phosphorous
Your teeth need the right nutrients to stay healthy. Eat plenty of chicken, dairy products, and nuts to help your teeth get what they need to fight off decay and disease.
3. Eat More Veggies
A tooth-healthy diet also includes plenty of fresh vegetables. They contain the vitamins and minerals your whole body needs, including your teeth. Crunchy vegetables like celery can also help scrape away some of the plaque build-up on your teeth.
4. Use Mouthwash
An anti-microbial mouthwash helps fight off plaque and periodontal disease. Use it in the morning after you brush, in the evening after you brush, and anytime you brush your teeth throughout the day. It's not a bad idea to brush your teeth after every meal if you can.
A low or no-alcohol mouthwash is actually better for your oral health than the traditional mouthwashes with alcohol. The alcohol dries out your mouth, and the lack of saliva is another contributor to gum disease.
5. Try an Electronic Toothbrush
Does your toothbrush move? If not, your teeth might not be getting as clean as they could be.
Look for an electronic toothbrush with an endorsement from the American Dental Association. These toothbrushes do a much better job of removing bacteria and plaque than conventional toothbrushes do. They also help keep you from brushing too aggressively, which can damage your gums.
6. Chew Gum
After you eat, chew some sugar-free gum that contains xylitol. This natural, plant-derived sweetener won't help create plaque, and the act of chewing gum keeps saliva flowing and a neutral pH in your mouth. This makes gum disease less likely to develop.
Start Gum Disease Prevention Now
Now that you know how to prevent gum disease, don't delay on getting started. Periodontal disease often starts with no symptoms at all. These steps will help you stop it in its tracks before it becomes a problem.
Have you had a dental checkup lately? A professional can help you make sure your gum disease prevention methods are working. Contact us today to book an appointment.