When it comes to oral health, your gums are just as important as your teeth. Patients with bright, white teeth may still have tender and inflamed gums, so it’s important to take a wholistic approach to oral care.
Gum health influences your dental health and physical health. According to Harvard Health, “people with periodontal disease have been found to be at higher risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, pregnancy complications, and dementia.”
Since gum health is such a critical component for overall health, it’s important to know the signs of gingivitis and periodontal disease, and practice thorough preventative care at home. Here are our tips on how to prevent gum disease by understanding your periodontal health.
What is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease occurs when an excess of plaque builds up along the gumline. Plaque harbors bacteria, which causes gums to become inflamed and may lead to other complications like tooth decay and bone loss down the line. Less severe gum disease, known as gingivitis, causes mild inflammation in the gums but can be treated with proper oral care.
Symptoms of gingivitis include:
- Soreness and sensitivity
- Inflammation and swelling
Unfortunately, if gingivitis is left untreated for too long it may develop into periodontitis, a more severe form of gum disease. Periodontitis permanently affects bones, teeth, and gums and may not be reversible. If you suspect you may have periodontitis, we recommend visiting the dentist’s office as soon as possible.
Symptoms of periodontitis include:
- Persistent bad breath
- Loose teeth
- Receding gums
- Excessive bleeding
How Can I Prevent Gum Disease?
Luckily, preventing gum disease is fairly straightforward and should be part of any oral care routine. The secret is practicing consistent oral hygiene, making healthy lifestyle decisions, and visiting the dentist regularly.
Floss and Brush
The most basic preventative measure is to floss and brush your teeth daily. Flossing removes plaque from hard-to-reach places like your gumline and in-between teeth. This keeps plaque buildup under control, removes bacteria, and improves gum health.
We also recommend brushing your teeth at least twice a day. Gentle brushing cleans the surface of your teeth and massages gums, removing bacteria and surface stains. For an extra thorough clean, make sure you brush your tongue to remove bacteria and improve breath.
For the best results, use a fluoride-based toothpaste. Fluoride has numerous dental health benefits and protects teeth against bacteria and decay. Look for a toothpaste that has the ADA seal of approval.
Use Antibacterial Mouthwash
If you struggle with persistent irritation and plaque buildup, consider adding an antibacterial mouthwash to your daily routine. A gentle antibacterial rinse will minimize bad breath and prevent inflammation.
Be Mindful of Lifestyle
We know that lifestyle changes are challenging, but certain habits like smoking directly contributes to gum disease. According to Healthline, “since smoking weakens your immune system, it also makes it harder to fight off a gum infection.”
Watch Your Diet
Your diet plays a big part in your overall oral health. Certain sugary or highly acidic foods eat away at protective enamel and may increase the risk of tooth decay and gum disease. If you struggle with gum inflammation, avoid foods and drinks high in sugar and acid. If you do indulge, brush your teeth immediately after you finish eating.
Foods and beverages to avoid include:
Attend Regular Dentist Appointments
Visiting your dentist regularly will help curb gum disease before it becomes a chronic issue. During routine visits your hygienist will clean your teeth, remove plaque, and examine gums for any signs of trouble. Visiting the dentist’s office is a crucial part of ongoing oral care, and you should aim to schedule an appointment at least once a year.
Visit Us at Treasured Smiles Adult and Cosmetic Dentistry
Here at Treasured Smiles Adult and Cosmetic Dentistry, we aim to provide all our patients with a thorough and comfortable experience. Out team of highly trained dental health experts will help you address all your oral health concerns in a low-stress environment. Our relaxing, newly updated office space offers the best in dental health technology, whether you need a cosmetic procedure or a routine cleaning. Schedule your first appointment with us today!