Gum Disease Prevention
Nearly half of the American adult population is suffering from some degree of periodontal disease. While this disease is incredibly common, many people are surprised to realize that it is also quite preventable. With the introduction of an oral hygiene regimen, these numbers could start to plummet, but it requires taking good care of your teeth and gums. We here at University Periodontal Associates often see patients who are unaware of how to take care of their gums properly and consider it our personal goal – and pleasure! – to educate you on how to prevent this disease from occurring in the first place.
What Causes Gum Disease and How Can I Prevent It?
Gum disease can be traced back to one major factor: bacteria. Your mouth is a host for millions of bacteria, and while some of these germs are not out to cause you any harm, most of them seem to have a personal vendetta against you. Not only can these bacteria lead to tooth decay and cavities, but they can also cause gum disease. If you have ever noticed a sticky residue on your teeth at the end of the day, then you are familiar with plaque.
Plaque is made up of bacterial buildup, and if these bacteria are not removed regularly from your teeth and gums, the acids and toxins that they give off can lead to infection.
Gum disease can be categorized by its severity. The milder form of gum disease is known as gingivitis, and while it is still in this stage, it is entirely reversible. The signs of gingivitis include blood in your saliva after you brush and floss your teeth, red and swollen gums, bad breath (halitosis), and receding gums. One thing you may not notice, however, is pain. For many people, gingivitis is an entirely painless disease, making it hard to detect at first.
Once your gum disease progresses, it becomes a more severe form of the disease known as periodontitis or simply periodontal disease. Unlike gingivitis, which can be cured, periodontitis cannot be cured. Instead, it must be managed like any other chronic disease such as diabetes.
Periodontal disease can lead to pain when you bite or chew, severely receded gums, and tooth loss. This condition is not just a cosmetic concern, either. If left untreated, it can cause heart disease, stroke, cancer, and even death. Prevention of gum disease, therefore, is vital for your long-term wellbeing.
How Can I Prevent Gum Disease?
Gum disease can be prevented at home by practicing good oral hygiene. An oral hygiene regimen includes brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing nightly. To brush properly, you need to start with a pea-sized dollop of fluoridated toothpaste on a soft-bristled toothbrush. Brush for two minutes at a 45-degree angle to your gums both morning and night. Follow up with flossing, starting with an 18-inch segment of floss and making sure to use a fresh section of it on each tooth. Work the floss between each tooth and up under the gums to ensure that you remove all plaque, trapped food, and buildup.
More Tips on How to Prevent Gum Disease
||Starting and maintaining a good home oral hygiene routine. Brush twice a day for at least two minutes. Floss each night after you have finished eating for the day. We find it best to move your floss in the formation of the letter C, not just up and down. Use mouthwash. Change your toothbrush every three months to lessen the bacteria on your brush. Be diligent about your oral care.
||Schedule regular dental cleanings. A visit with a hygienist twice a year allows for the removal of any food debris, plaque, or calculus, that is filled with bacteria and damaging your teeth and gums.
||Have regular dental exams. Have Dr. Dennison maintain and regular relationship with your teeth. He can see the progress, both good and bad, and make adjustments to your gum disease treatment plan as necessary.
Another important thing you can do to prevent gum disease is to schedule regular dental appointments at our office. We advise that you see us every six months for a checkup and a cleaning. To set up your appointment with us now, give us here at University Periodontal Associates a call at (832) 975-0990 today.