Great dental care isn’t just about your teeth. The health of your gums — the literal foundation for your teeth — is important as well. The truth is you can be cavity free and have a beautiful smile, but still suffer from periodontal or gum disease. It’s usually a painless disease, but can lead to all sorts of problems when it comes to your teeth and overall health.
What Causes Gum Disease?
Gum disease begins when plaque builds up under and along the gumline. This is a sticky bacteria that can cause infections in your gums. It can lead to inflammation, tenderness, and bleeding. Gingivitis is the early stage, but if left untreated it can advance to periodontal disease, which impacts the bones that hold your teeth in place. Essentially, the fibers and bones holding your teeth are being slowly destroyed. If the disease becomes bad enough, it can lead to tooth loss.
Like teeth, healthy gums start with proper care. Here are 4 ways you can take care of your gums to avoid gum disease.
We tell our dental patients to floss at least once a day. Some prefer to do it in the morning, some at night, and some even during their lunch breaks (for those who work in a closed office setting). It doesn’t really matter when, so long as it gets done. Some people even floss in the shower. Flossing removes plaque and food that regular brushing does not.
See Us for a Cleaning
A professional cleaning is the only way to remove tartar. It also helps to remove plaque that brushing or flossing may have missed. Plus, a cleaning helps identify dental issues early, including possible gum disease. Early detection is key to preventing more serious problems from occurring if the disease is left untreated.
Yes, you should use mouthwash regularly, though it should not replace brushing or flossing. Regular use of mouthwash can help prevent gum disease and remove extra tartar buildup. Look for the ADA seal. This is proof that the manufacturer has demonstrated enough evidence to support the product’s safety and effectiveness.
Smoking weakens the immune system, which makes a person more susceptible to gum disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Not only does smoking make your mouth more susceptible to infection, but it makes it more difficult for your gums to heal once they’ve been damaged. And while we say quit smoking, we really mean quitting all tobacco products. Anything tobacco can weaken your immune system and make it more difficult for your body to heal. Tobacco is a poison, after all.