How To Prevent Gum Disease
Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss. As a result, you will want to do everything in your power to prevent this disease from coming into your life and causing trouble. Gum disease is normally slow to progress and virtually painless until it has advanced. It can reach an advanced stage without much notice or sign. Some people will notice their gums bleeding and the beginnings of tooth sensitivity, but this is not the same for everyone.
This is what you need to know.
What is Gum Disease?
To begin with, let’s review what gum disease is. It is a build-up of bacteria within your gums. As the bacteria moves further down your teeth, it will cause the deterioration of your gums, the bone holding your teeth, and eventually, it leads to tooth loss. It is also one cause of heart disease as well as other medical conditions. Some people are more prone to it than others, but because it progresses so slyly, everyone should take steps to prevent it.
The first line of defence against gum disease is your home care. This includes:
- Brushing for two minutes, twice daily: Using fluoride toothpaste, stick to a rigid brushing schedule, including before bed.
- Floss: Flossing covers plaque removal for the areas between your teeth, where your brush can’t go. There are many flossing tools on the market, so if traditional flossing isn’t working for you, try something else.
- Mouth rinse: While this is less important than brushing or flossing, using a fluoride mouth rinse has been shown to reduce plaque build-up by nearly 20 percent. Mouth rinse is never a substitute for brushing and flossing, but can be used in addition to.
- No smoking or tobacco: Smoking and tobacco usage have been proven to be contributors to both gum disease and oral cancer, not to mention all of the health problems that come with them.
- Eat well: Eating diets that are full of healthy fruits and vegetables and low on starches and sugars will also help prevent the development of gum disease. Your mouth’s bacteria loves sugary diets so without it, it cannot grow as much.
Also remember that some medications can contribute to the development of gum disease, including oral contraceptives, heart medications, and antidepressants.
Visiting the Dentist
Beyond taking care of yourself at home, you should also be paying visits to the dentist and hygienist. At your routine visits, the dental team will:
- Remove tartar and plaque build-up: Your hygienist actually can go below the gum line and remove the plaque that has hardened underneath, helping your gums to re-adhere to the teeth.
- Remove bacteria build-up: Your hygienist will also remove bacteria.
- Check the health of your gums: If there is a sign of trouble, the hygienist can address it before it progresses.
You should be visiting the dentist at least twice a year for your cleanings, but if you are experiencing any warning signs of gum disease, such as bleeding and tender gums, tooth movement, or even gum recession, make an appointment right away.