Gum disease is a serious condition that affects more people than you might think. In fact, according to the CDC, 47.2% of adults age 30 and over have some form of periodontal disease. This statistic only gets more dire as we get older, with more than 70% of people over the age of 65 showing some signs of the disease.
Gum disease starts when the bacteria in your mouth begin infecting the tissues that surround the teeth, causing the gums to become sensitive and inflamed. This can eventually become periodontal disease, which is the leading cause of tooth loss in this country.
If you catch it fast enough, though, it can be treated and controlled, but PREVENTION is always going to be more effective.
This is particularly important if some of the risk factors for gum disease apply to your situation. Some of the most common risk factors include:
- Poor oral hygiene
- Other immune-deficiencies
- Hereditary conditions
- Medications that cause dry mouth
- Hormonal changes
- Fillings that are now defective
So, what are five ways you can help prevent gum disease?
1. The Dental ABCs
These are the things you’ve heard a hundred times before and can expect to hear a hundred times more.
- Brush your teeth after meals
- Floss at least once a day
- Use mouthwash
These may seem like very basic things, but they make up the foundation of your oral health. Focus on eliminating plaque as effectively as you can and keep up your hygiene routines no matter what. Failure to do so is one of the leading risk factors for periodontal disease.
2. See a Periodontist
Get an annual check from someone who specializes in the health of your gums. You need to work with someone who knows what to look for and how to provide the best treatments for your gums. We can also provide guidance if we see anything that might be a little concerning and answer all your questions about the condition.
3. Get Regular Professional Dental Cleanings
There are always some parts of your teeth that you just can’t quite get at when you brush and floss. You’ll need a professional dentist or hygienist to get rid of the plaque and tartar that is being a little extra stubborn. Your family dentist in Northport Alabama can help with this process, and use the opportunity to check on your gums and make sure there isn’t any problems happening there.
4. Get Your Vitamin C
Vitamin C deficiency can potentially contribute to gum disease. You can avoid this problem by eating more fruits with vitamin C or take a supplement if it is recommended by your dentist or doctor.
5. Change Your Eating and Drinking Habits
The foods you eat can have an impact on your dental health. It’s important to eat a balanced diet, avoid sticky foods, and skip the sugary drinks. Bacteria in plaque feed on those sugars and turn them into acids that can damage teeth and gums.
It’s also important to drink a lot of water. This helps the saliva in your mouth naturally remove food particles and prevent plaque buildup.
Why Is Prevention So Important?
If gum disease is caught soon enough (while it is still in the earliest stages of gingivitis), it can be treated, but if it is given the opportunity to grow, it can cause a lot of problems.
If it advances far enough, it can impact the bone that holds your teeth in place, which can affect your bite and require extractions and dental implants.
While treatment is possible, wouldn’t you rather avoid that necessity in the first place?
Taking preventative measures will keep your teeth and gums strong and healthy so you won’t have to worry about it.
But what if you are concerned that gum disease may have already set in?
Spotting the Signs of Periodontal Disease
There are a number of indications that gum disease might be progressing. These include:
- Constant bad breath
- Red or swollen gums that bleed easily
- Separating or loose teeth
- Sensitive teeth or painful chewing
- Gums start pulling away from your teeth
- Changes in the way your bite fits together
Contact us if you experience one or more of these symptoms and we’ll help you determine the next step.