How To Prevent Gum Disease
What is gum disease and what causes it?
Gum disease goes by many names, including gingivitis in its earliest stage, and periodontal disease and periodontitis when the condition is moderate to severe. It is caused by the accumulation of bacteria on the teeth, due to poor brushing and flossing. The bacteria quickly spread into the gums, causing them to become irritated and sore. As the condition worsens, so do the associated symptoms, which include bad breath, bleeding when brushing your teeth, pain, infection and eventually, tooth loss. Therefore, it is essential to seek professional treatment as soon as you believe that you may be suffering from some degree of gum disease.
Why is it important to treat gum disease?
Not only does gum disease cause a range of unpleasant and sometimes debilitating symptoms, but it can also have a detrimental effect on your overall health and wellbeing.
Gum disease that isn’t promptly treated almost always causes some degree of infection within the gum. When this infection isn’t removed, it can enter the bloodstream and travel around to other parts of the body, including the major organs.
Research has linked gum disease to a variety of chronic, serious health conditions including:
- Heart disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Respiratory problems such as COPD and pneumonia
Failing to treat gum disease can also cause the bone in your jaw to deteriorate. When this happens, it can no longer effectively support the teeth surrounding it, and so at this stage, many patients experience tooth loss.
How to prevent gum disease
Now you understand the effects of gum disease, you will undoubtedly be wondering what the best ways are to prevent it from occurring. Thankfully there are some things that you can do that could significantly reduce the likelihood that you will develop it.
Oral care routine
The first thing that you should do is ensure that your dental hygiene routine is on point. Brushing alone is not enough to keep gum disease at bay. For the best protection, you should brush twice a day, paying close attention to the point where your teeth meet the gums, use a fluoride mouthwash and floss.
When we eat, tiny particles of food debris can get trapped in the minuscule spaces between our teeth. Most of the time, these particles are too small for us to even see them. Regular brushing rarely manages to dislodge these particles, meaning that unless you floss, this bacteria-filled debris can sit between your teeth for days, weeks and even months, where it slowly decays your teeth and begins to penetrate your gums, causing gum disease. Flossing may seem like a fiddly and time-consuming exercise, but it is the single most important thing that you can do to protect yourself from gum disease.
Attend dental visits
Although you may be brushing and flossing your teeth regularly at home, visits to our dentists should form a vital part of your dental care. This is because our dentists have the knowledge, experience, and tools to be able to perform an unrivaled analysis of the health of your teeth and gums. Your visits provide our dentists with a perfect opportunity to spot any potential problems early so that you can start treatment early and avoid unpleasant symptoms and expensive and extensive dental work.
Our dentists or dental hygienists will also have the tools and best access to your mouth to perform professional grade cleaning of your teeth, which will prevent gum disease from developing.
People who smoke are much more likely to suffer from dental problems, including gum disease. Some research even suggests that more than 8 million cases of chronic periodontitis are attributable to smoking. This is largely considered to be because smoking weakens your body’s ability to fight off infection, thus leaving smokers prone to the development of a range of bacterial diseases, including periodontitis. No to mention, of course, that giving up the nicotine will also dramatically reduce the risk of developing a range of serious health conditions. For the sake of your teeth, gums and your general health, stub out that cigarette!
To find out more about the prevention of gum disease, contact and arrange an appointment with our dental practitioners today.