Periodontal disease – or gum disease, as it is better known – is an inflammation of the gums that occurs when plaque builds up between the teeth. As the bacteria in this plaque grows, it can cause the gums to become infected. If gum disease is left untreated, it can lead to gum recession and tooth loss. Research also suggests that gum disease may be associated with other conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.
Gum disease can cause serious problems if it is left unchecked, but it is relatively easy to prevent. As with most health conditions that are tied to your hygiene, personal care can go a long way in preventing this disease. With that being said, here are some of the things you can and should be doing to prevent gum disease.
Brush Your Teeth
You’ve no doubt been hearing that you should be brushing your teeth at least twice a day for most of your life, but it really is the single best way to prevent gum disease. Brushing your teeth after every meal will definitely remove plaque from your teeth, but it will also remove the food particles that act as a source of food for bacteria. Try to brush your teeth continuously for two minutes with a toothpaste containing fluoride, and pay close attention to your gum lines. Try not to brush too hard, as this can irritate your gums and cause many of the problems that you are trying to prevent. Don’t neglect your tongue, either; bacteria love to hide there.
Many people neglect to floss even when they’re diligent about brushing their teeth regularly, but it is still a crucial part of your dental care. Flossing can remove the food particles and plaque between your teeth and along your gums that regular brushing might not reach.
Get a Good Mouthwash
Swishing with mouthwash after brushing and flossing your teeth is a great way to get rid of any remaining food particles and plaque that you might have missed before. When you go to buy a new mouthwash, try to find something that is alcohol-free, as alcohol can dry out your mouth and reduce the mouthwash’s effectiveness.
See Your Dentist
While most of your efforts to prevent gum disease will fall on you and your own habits, you should still make regular appointments with your dentist. Conventional wisdom says that you should see your dentist for a cleaning and check-up twice a year, although you might be able to get away with one appointment a year if your teeth and gums are healthy. You should go more often if you have a family history of gum disease, you are a regular smoker, or if you have diabetes. Your dentist will be able to tell you if you are at a higher risk of developing gum disease, so they can tell you when you should make your next appointment.
These are some of the most effective ways to prevent gum disease, but nobody is completely immune. Pay close attention to your own oral health, and don’t hesitate to make an appointment with your dentist if you have any questions or concerns. There are plenty of great dentists in Anaheim and the surrounding area, so take the time to find one in your area if you haven’t already.