5 Simple Ways to Prevent Gum Disease
Before we talk about preventing gum disease, let’s first examine, briefly, what gum disease is. Gum disease is caused by bacteria in the mouth. Your mouth is full of bacteria, some of which are harmless or beneficial; but some of which are harmful and if left untreated would more than likely lead to gum disease.
The bacteria combine with the saliva in your mouth to form a sticky substance called plaque, which adheres to your teeth and gums. If not removed, this plaque becomes hard and turns into tartar, which lodges in your mouth, particularly between the teeth and gums. This, in turn, leads to infection of the gums, known as gingivitis.
If this condition is not treated, more acute infection develops into periodontitis. Periodontitis can lead to the infection of the underlying bone structure, resulting in loosened teeth and eventually, loss of teeth.
Here’s a list of 5 Simple Rules to Prevent Gum Disease
Brushing and Flossing
At the very least, you should be brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing once a day. Ideally one should floss after every meal. This is, however, not always practical. You should also take care to brush and floss correctly. Incorrect technique is self-defeating. Flossing is particularly important, as it reaches areas that your toothbrush can’t, and is largely instrumental in removing the plaque and tartar build-up, particularly between the teeth. Make sure to scrape your tongue (with a tongue scraper or toothbrush) as bacteria can also build up on your tongue.
Exercise and Diet
A study published in the Journal of Periodontology has shown that there is a significant correlation between fitness and gum disease. Those that tested with a lower body mass index and higher levels of fitness, were less likely to suffer from severe gum disease. Similarly, eating a diet high in vitamins and minerals, which are needed to ensure gum and dental health, is advisable. Avoidance of sugar is also recommended, as the bacteria that cause gum disease thrive on sugar.
Toothpaste and Mouthwash
The American Dental Association recommends a toothpaste and mouthwash that contain an antimicrobial ingredient. These agents can go a long way to killing the bacteria that cause gum disease. Most antimicrobial mouthwashes kill 99% of the germs in your mouth for 12 hours.
Visit your dentist regularly
A visit to your dentist twice a year is considered sufficient for your dentist to monitor your overall oral health. With regular check-ups the dentist can often spot warning symptoms and take preventative action, thereby saving you from a lot of pain and expense later on, when the condition has worsened.
Regular Professional Cleaning
No matter how conscientious you are with brushing and flossing, you will not be able to get rid of all the plaque and tartar. A regular deep clean of your mouth will be able to remove all the tartar that you were not able to eliminate. This does not necessitate a visit to your dentist but can be performed by a dental hygienist.
Gum disease is preventable
It is possible to prevent gum disease. It merely takes a certain degree of discipline in following the above guidelines to ensure overall oral health and to lessen the likelihood of gum disease. Consult your dentist for comprehensive advice on lessening the risk of gum disease.