Gum disease (periodontal disease) is one of the most common oral health problems that people experience. Your chances of developing gum disease only increase as you age. If you’ve had gum disease, you know how difficult it can be to cure. If you’ve never had gum disease, you should know how to prevent it so you can avoid what can be a vicious cycle.
What Causes Gum Disease?
To understand how to prevent gum disease, it helps to understand what causes it in the first place. Gum disease is a bacterial infection of the gum tissue. It occurs when excessive plaque builds up on the teeth along or below the gum line. Plaque is a combination of food residue and bacteria. When the bacteria become overpopulated, they can push their way into tiny fissures and pores in the gum tissue and cause an infection.
Gum disease is most easily treated in the early stages. But once it progresses, it can become much more difficult to cure. If it is left untreated for too long, the infection can eventually spread to the bloodstream and travel throughout the body, potentially resulting in heart disease and sepsis. But this is the extreme, not the norm.
In normal cases, gum disease is discovered early and immediately treated to keep it from becoming a bigger problem.
Tips to Prevent Gum Disease
Here are some steps that you can take to prevent gum disease from occuring or coming back after treatment.
- Brush your teeth. Dentists recommend brushing your teeth twice a day with a soft bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. This removes the food residue and plaque from your teeth so that the bacteria population in your mouth remains at a controlled level.
- Floss your teeth. Dentists also recommend flossing your teeth once a day. Flossing removes food and plaque from the spaces between your teeth and in the pockets between your teeth and gums. Flossing also helps to strengthen your gum tissue so that it is more resistant to bacterial infection.
- Reduce your sugar intake. Evaluate your diet and look for ways to reduce your sugar intake. Sugar is not only bad for your body, it is bad for your teeth. When sugar coats your teeth it feeds the bacteria in your mouth. The stickiness also causes bacteria to cling to the teeth and gums. If you do consume sugary foods and drinks, rinse your mouth out with water or brush your teeth afterwards.
- See your dentist regularly. The recommended schedule for dental cleanings and exams is every 6 months. This is the optimal frequency to keep plaque at bay and to detect the early signs of gum disease, such as gingivitis. The biggest indicator of gum disease is seeing blood in the sink when you brush your teeth. Gums may also appear red or swollen. If your dentist notices the signs of gum disease at your regular visit, treatment can be applied before it progresses.
- Quit smoking. If you’re a smoker, your chances of developing gum disease are increased. Smoking restricts the blood vessels in the mouth which lowers the body’s ability to fight off infection like gum disease.
- Use mouthwash. Over the counter mouthwash may help to reduce the amount of bacteria in your mouth and in the areas that are difficult to reach with a toothbrush. Your dentist may prescribe a clinical grade mouthwash to help cure and prevent gum disease.
Visit Dental Partners of Vero Beach Regularly to Prevent Gum Disease
Periodontal care refers to the treatments and procedures your dentist may use to keep your gums healthy. Dental Partners of Vero Beach provide a range of periodontal services to treat and prevent gum disease, including scaling and root planing, periodontal cleaning, gingivectomy, and more. We are committed to helping you maintain excellent oral health.
Call (772) 569-4118 or contact us today to schedule an appointment. We look forward to helping you overcome and prevent gum disease.