The more we learn about gum disease through research, the more we understand the need for preventive dentistry.
Early gum disease can actually be reversed by adopting healthy oral hygiene habits and scheduling dental cleanings. However, if gum disease is allowed to develop into periodontitis (also called periodontal disease) it can affect your gums and the bones that support your teeth.
Here are 6 ways that you can avoid gum disease altogether and prioritize your oral health.
What Causes Gum Disease?
Gum disease is caused by untreated dental plaque buildup. Linked to serious conditions like heart disease and stroke, gum disease is a major threat. Many people aren’t even aware they have gum disease until it’s too late.
Possible symptoms of gum disease include:
- Swollen or puffy gums
- Bright red or purplish gums
- Gums that are tender to the touch or bleed easily
- Bad breath
- Pus between your teeth and gums
- Pain while chewing
- Receding gums
1.) Practice Good Oral Hygiene
Although this may seem obvious, good oral care is crucial for healthy gums. Brushing your teeth is not enough—especially when it comes to gum disease. You should add flossing to your routine to reduce the risk of plaque building up and damaging your gums.
Using an antimicrobial mouthwash low in alcohol can also be very beneficial to your oral health.can be as simple as scheduling a teeth cleaning and practicing good oral hygiene.
2.) Increase Your Vitamin C Intake
Vitamin C deficiency is one of the leading causes of gum disease. Including more of this vitamin in your diet not only helps prevent gum disease, but can treat your symptoms. That’s right, vitamin C also has healing properties that can stop your gums from swelling or bleeding while stabilizing loose teeth.
3.) Eat a Balanced Diet
Nothing helps more in preventing gum disease than maintaining a healthy diet. Be sure to avoid sugary foods and drinks as they lead to tooth decay and gum irritation. Eating a balanced and nutritious diet filled with vitamins and minerals boosts your immunity and helps ward off many diseases, including gum disease.
4.) Drink More Water
Staying hydrated is necessary in preventing gum disease, as well as promoting overall health. Drinking plenty of water produces more saliva which helps fight off bacteria that can cause gum infection.
5.) Quit Smoking
Smoking cigarettes and using tobacco products has been known to cause countless health issues, especially gum disease. Tobacco products are very harmful to your gums and should be avoided at all costs.
6.) Schedule Teeth Cleanings
Seeing our Grand Rapids family dentists regularly cannot be stressed enough. A routine teeth cleaning can help prevent gum disease by removing plaque hiding in between teeth and along the gum line. During your dental checkup, our dentists will also be able to spotlike bleeding gums.
If you already have periodontal disease, you’ll want to ask our dentists about scaling and root planing. People with periodontal disease tend to have deep gum pockets around teeth. During periodontal disease treatment, our dentists will remove plaque from these pockets and smoothes out tooth roots. Not only does this help prevent receding gums, but it lowers your risk for tooth loss.
Bonus Tip: Know Your Risk
About 47.2% of Americans age 30 and older have some form of periodontal disease, according to the CDC. One of the best ways to prevent gum disease is to know your risk and talk to our dentists. We’ll be able to spot the warning signs that gum disease could be on the horizon, such as smoking and advanced age.
It’s important to understand that gum disease isn’t inevitable if you have risk factors. You can lower your risk of gum disease significantly by following the advice in this blog post and scheduling regular appointments with our office.
Request an Appointment
Dr. Piotrowski and Dr. Cohen are dedicated to helping you maintain a healthy smile by offering gum disease treatments and other preventive dental services. To schedule an appointment with our Grand Rapids, MI, dentists, call Precision Family Dental at (616) 949-1570.
This blog post has been updated.