How to Prevent Gum Disease
Gum disease is a common condition that affects nearly half of Americans. It is both treatable and preventable, but when it goes untreated for a long time it can become serious. Gum disease is an infection of the gum tissue caused by plaque and tartar that build up on the teeth. The infection can spread and become severe, causing a myriad of health issues.
The dental implications of untreated gum disease are receding gums, which is when the gums pull away from the teeth. The gums are part of the support structure for your teeth. If the gum tissue recedes far enough, the teeth become loose and may even fall out.
The overall health implications of untreated gum disease is widespread infection that moves beyond the mouth and may even enter the bloodstream. Gum disease has also been linked to diabetes and heart disease.
Gum Disease is Preventable
There is no reason to suffer from the effects of gum disease when it is so easily preventable. There are steps you can take when it comes to your dental hygiene as well as procedures your dentist can perform to help prevent gum disease from developing. Here are some tips for prevention:
- Brush your teeth twice a day. The best thing you can do to prevent gum disease is to brush your teeth every day, twice a day using a fluoride toothpaste. It is usually recommended that you brush once in the morning and once at night. Proper brushing technique involves brushing for 2 minutes, dedicating 30 seconds to each quadrant of your mouth.
- Floss your teeth once a day. Dentists recommend flossing your teeth once a day. This helps to remove plaque from between your teeth and between each tooth and the gums. This is one of the most common places for plaque to form and cause infection. When you floss, gently push the floss down between each tooth, taking care not to damage the gum tissue. Then curve the floss slightly around each tooth to get it down into the pocket between the tooth and gum line.
- See your dentist every 6 months. No matter how well you brush and floss, some plaque may still remain on your teeth. If it hardens and turns to calculus, your toothbrush will no longer be effective at removing it. Your dentist has special tools that can remove plaque and calculus without damaging your tooth enamel. If you exhibit early signs of gum disease, your dentist can take steps to treat it right away before it worsens. This is why you should see your dentist for preventive care every 6 months.
- Get an electric toothbrush and/or waterpik. If you have trouble with plaque build up or recurring gum disease, special equipment may help. An electric toothbrush is more effective at removing plaque from your teeth than a manual toothbrush. A waterpik or water flosser can help to remove plaque from between your teeth.
- Eat less sugar. Eating a high sugar diet feeds the bacteria in your mouth and causes plaque to stick to your teeth. This increases your risk of developing gum disease.
- Avoid smoking. Smoking restricts the blood vessels in your gums which makes the tissue more susceptible to infection and impedes the normal protective and healing processes.
- Have a root planing and scaling procedure. If you have excessive calculus that has built up on your teeth, your dentist can perform a scaling procedure, which removes plaque and calculus from beneath the gum line. Root planing is the typical follow up procedure that smooths the surface of the tooth root to remove uneven spaces where plaque tends to form between the tooth root and the gums.
Doctors Lake Family Dental Provides Preventive Care
The best way to prevent gum disease is to keep up with routine dental care every 6 months. Doctors Lake Family Dental provides general dentistry services for patients of all ages, including scaling and root planing. We can help you avoid gum disease and keep your teeth clean and healthy.