From swelling and inflammation to a receding gum line and the actual loss of teeth, gum disease can wreak havoc on your smile. The disease can be painful at times, affecting your appearance and ability to eat and chew properly, but it also worsens and becomes life-threatening if the infection enters the bloodstream.
Gum disease treatment is possible depending on the severity of your specific case. However, prevention is your best weapon against this serious dental condition. Learn how to prevent gum disease using these simple, yet imperative, solutions and the help of your dentist.
Brush (and Floss) the Right Way
You most likely understand the importance of brushing your teeth, but you may not be brushing in the most effective way.
Experts recommend brushing your teeth three times a day for two minutes at a time to remove food and plaque from not only the teeth but also the gum tissue.
You should only use a soft-bristled toothbrush since hard or medium bristles can damage tooth enamel, allowing food and bacteria to build up under the protective coating of enamel.
Hold the toothbrush end at an angle against your teeth and gum tissue while brushing in a circular motion for the best results. Avoid any aggressive brushing because this will also affect the tooth enamel in addition to irritating the gum tissue.
Since food and bacteria will build up on the bristles, most dentists recommend replacing your toothbrush every two months. Also, make sure you use fluoride toothpaste that the American Dental Association has approved.
In regards to flossing, you may be surprised to learn it is not necessary every time you brush your teeth. For the best protection against cavities and gum disease, floss twice a day to remove food and plaque from your teeth and gums.
Visit the Dentist Regularly
If you are like some individuals, you only visit the doctor or dentist when there is an issue to resolve. Unfortunately, this strategy can lead to issues that affect your physical and oral health and wellness. Therefore, make sure you schedule routine checkups and cleanings every six months or earlier if you want to protect the look and health of your smile.
During a routine checkup, dentists will inspect the mouth, teeth, and gums for any signs of plaque or tartar, cavities and decay, or gum disease. Your dentist will perform a detailed cleaning of the teeth and gums, as well as plaque, tartar and some surface staining from the teeth.
If you do have signs of early gum disease, such as a heavy buildup of tartar on the teeth along with swollen, bleeding gums, a more involved cleaning will be recommended. This could be a full mouth debridement or a scaling and root planing procedure. These types of cleanings remove hardened plaque, calculus and bacteria from the pockets that have formed within the gum tissue and hardened onto the tooth structure.
Regular checkups are helpful for diagnosing and treating dental problems, but they are also important for prevention. Professional cleanings every six months will prevent a heavy buildup of tartar, reducing your risk of gum disease.
Break the Tobacco Habit
Last, but definitely not least, you need to quit using any tobacco products if you want to protect your smile from gum disease.
Tobacco can affect your oral health in many ways. It stains your teeth and dries out your mouth, which can cause bacteria to grow. Smoking also decreases the function of your immune system. Smokers have twice the risk of developing gum disease because they have a weakened immune system.
Even though quitting is challenging, your health depends on it. Ask your dentist and doctor about tips and tricks you can use to quit smoking and tobacco products.
Professional dental care can reduce your risk of gum disease. For more help on improving your oral health, contact Crest Hill Family Dental today.