Can Gum Disease Be Prevented?
Ideally, gums should fit snugly around the teeth. But over time, they may come loose. Gum disease or periodontal disease can also cause the gums to recede.
What is gum disease?
Gum disease is caused by plaque, a colorless bacteria-laden film that builds up on tooth surfaces naturally. If plaque lingers on the teeth for too long, it may irritate the gums and cause inflammation.
Irritated gum tissues recede and form pockets around the teeth where harmful bacteria can continue to grow and spread. Left untreated, this process can damage the bone and result in tooth loss.
Preventing gum disease
Early gum disease can be reversed by boosting your oral hygiene habits and seeing your dentist for oral checkups and hygiene cleanings. But even better than reversal is prevention.
Here are some tips to prevent gum disease:
- Brush thoroughly. Brush your teeth thoroughly, but gently. Cover all areas your toothbrush can reach, especially the chewing surfaces at the back. Don't forget to include your tongue as harmful bacteria may also be nesting on its surface. Avoid aggressive brushing as this may only cause the enamel to erode. Brush at least twice a day, once before bedtime. Salivary flow decreases during sleep, which makes the mouth more vulnerable to acid attacks.
- Floss daily. Flossing is an effective way to prevent gum disease. It reaches areas that a toothbrush won't be able to clean. It helps get rid of debris and plaque along the gumline and on tight spaces between teeth. If you're uncomfortable with the typical floss, try using a floss holder or ask your dentist for product recommendations.
- Rinse with therapeutic mouthwash. Rinsing with mouthwash isn't a substitute for flossing and brushing. But it can help get rid of plaque, especially if you're always on the go. Check which products are approved and recognized by dental authorities.
- Maintain a healthy diet. Reduce intake of starchy and sugary food. They tend to cling to the teeth longer, serving as food for harmful bacteria. Include fruits and vegetables in your diet to help strengthen teeth and gums and prevent gum disease. Vitamin C can help boost your resistance against gum disease and also promote healing.
- Drink water to hydrate. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Water helps get rid of debris in the mouth and also encourages saliva flow. By keeping the mouth moist, you help replenish minerals the enamel is losing. You also help reduce the acid levels in the mouth. Water also doesn't leave debris or cause tooth discoloration.
- See your dentist regularly. Keep up with your routine dental visits. Even with regular brushing and flossing, some debris may remain in the mouth. Your dental hygienist can get rid of these deposits using special tools and keep them from causing issues. During your checkups, your dentist can also evaluate existing dental work and check for signs of potential problems.
Request an appointment with your dentist today
Gum disease is reversible and treatable, but prevention is easier and more cost-effective. By making changes to your lifestyle and daily habits, you can improve the condition of your teeth and gums. Preventative measures at the dental office can help minimize your risk of developing gum disease.