Gum disease is incredibly common, with most people experiencing it at least once in their lives. It can be a painful experience, creating swollen, sore or infected gums. If left untreated, the disease can also result in tooth loss, gum abscesses and require surgery to treat.
Yet, gum disease is easily preventable. To help you prevent gum disease, we’ve put together four easy and simple tips to follow for healthy teeth and gums.
What causes gum disease?
Gum disease is caused by a build-up of plaque, and can occur in many stages.
Plaque is a soft, film of bacteria that constantly forms on the teeth and gums. When it’s not removed, plaque produces toxins that irritate the gum tissue. This causes the first stage of gum disease, gingivitis.
Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums, and can include the symptoms such as bad breath and red, swollen or bleeding gums. As the earliest stage of gum disease, gingivitis is the easiest to treat and the damage can be reversed. If left untreated, gingivitis can become periodontitis.
Periodontitis effects and permanently damages the tissues, bone and fibres that hold teeth in place. By forming a pocket below the gum line, your gums will also start to recede.
At this stage, periodontal therapy and improved oral hygiene can help to prevent any further damage. Without treatment, periodontitis can become advanced. As the tissues supporting the teeth are being destroyed, the teeth become lose, can shift position or fall out.
How to prevent gum disease
There are four simple and relatively easy tips to follow to not only prevent gum disease, but also maintain good dental hygiene.
1. Brushing your teeth
Brushing your teeth is the key to removing and preventing a build-up of plaque.
For effective brushing, it’s important that you use a good technique when brushing your teeth. Holding your brush at a 45-degree angle, use small back and forth or circular motions with your brush, making sure that you reach every surface.
Some people may prefer to start a ‘bus route’ routine when brushing their teeth. This method allows you to start brushing your teeth in the same spot, following the same direction and pattern every time you brush.
Flossing every day will remove plaque and debris, and control the build-up of tartar. With different types of floss available, there is bound to be a floss that works for you.
If you struggle with flossing, speak to your dentist who will be able to recommend alternatives such as flossing tape, inter-dental brushes or floss holders.
3. Eating a balanced diet
Eating a balanced diet will help ensure proper nutrition for your jawbone and teeth and keep your gums healthy.
Without a balanced diet, your gum tissues won’t be able to receive the vitamins and minerals to keep your gum tissues healthy and able to ward off gum disease. In addition, if your diet has a lot of sugary foods, the sugars will react with plaque to create acids. These acids dissolve the teeth and lead to tooth decay.
Chewing sugar-free gum after a meal can help clear food particles away and restore your mouth’s healthy environment, limiting the time for plaque to create toxins and acids.
4. Stop smoking
Smoking can cause many health problems. For your mouth, smoking decreases circulation that keeps the gums healthy, and is a primary contributor to gum disease.
Following these simple tips can help prevent gum disease. It’s important that you also attend regular check-ups with your dentist, so any problems and a potential lead to gum disease can be found and treated as early as possible.
If you notice any symptoms such as red, sore, swollen, receding or bleeding gums, bad breath or tooth sensitivity, make an appointment with your dentist before any permanent damage is caused.
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