7 Things You Can Do To Keep Your Gum Health in Excellent Shape
Healthy gums are the foundation of a healthy mouth.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 46% of all adults age 30 and above show signs of gum disease. And if that statistic isn’t alarming enough, consider that severe gum disease affects about 9% of adults. The good news is that gum disease is treatable and reversible when caught in its earliest stage. Here’s what you need to know about gum disease and what you can do to maintain healthy gums.
What is gum disease?
Gum disease is a bacterial infection that affects the gums and other structures supporting the teeth. It starts as gingivitis, characterized by inflammation of the gums, but can progress to a more severe form called periodontitis, leading to serious complications if left untreated. The infection can spread from the gums to the bone and ligaments supporting the teeth, leading to tooth loss, gum recession, and bone loss.
Gum disease has also been linked to systemic health conditions such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and respiratory infections. Therefore, seeking treatment as soon as possible is important to prevent further damage and improve overall oral and systemic health. And taking steps to prevent gum disease and maintain healthy gums in the first place is even more critical.
Maintain healthy gums with these 7 tips.
Thankfully, taking good care of your gums isn’t all that complicated. With just a few lifestyle changes, you can set yourself on a course for healthy gums long into the future.
1. Floss once a day, and floss under the gumline.
If string floss is challenging, then using a floss pick is much better than skipping it altogether. You can also try a water flosser. Floss before you brush as it helps remove plaque and food particles between the teeth and below the gumline where a toothbrush cannot reach. Any plaque left behind can harden into tartar and contribute to gum disease. Flossing can also stimulate the gums and improve blood flow, which can help to prevent inflammation and gingivitis. Need help with how to floss? Check out this video to learn the proper technique.
2. Eat a healthy diet high in vitamin C.
Vitamin C is essential for the growth and repair of tissues throughout the body. It plays a crucial role in forming collagen, a protein that provides structure to the skin, bones, muscles, and blood vessels. Vitamin C also acts as an antioxidant, helping to protect the body from damage caused by harmful molecules known as free radicals. Finally, it supports the immune system, helping the body absorb iron from plant-based foods, and may reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, certain cancers, and eye diseases.
3. Brush below the gumline.
Bacteria can accumulate at the base of your teeth, increasing your chances of developing gum disease. However, when you angle your toothbrush toward the gumline so the bristles can gently sweep below the gums as well, you help prevent tartar formation and stimulate blood flow to the gums.
4. Quit smoking.
According to the CDC, smoking weakens your immune system, making it more difficult to fight gum infection. In fact, smokers have twice the risk of gum disease as nonsmokers. Worse, periodontal treatment is not as effective in patients who smoke. So if you’re a smoker, take steps to quit for good. Your teeth and gums will thank you for it.
5. Talk to your dentist about possible orthodontic care.
Properly aligned teeth are easier to clean, making it easier to remove plaque and bacteria that cause gum disease. Braces or clear aligners can close gaps between teeth and improve bite alignment, simultaneously reducing excessive pressure on certain teeth and the surrounding gums and reducing the risk of gum disease.
6. Go to your preventive dental appointments.
Most dentists agree you should have a dental checkup every six months. Regular dental checkups and professional dental cleanings are key elements of preventive dentistry and allow your dentist to detect oral health problems early. Ignoring your time in the dental chair can cause untreated conditions to become painful and harder to treat.
7. Know the signs of gingivitis.
Awareness is a critical approach to prevention. So knowing the signs of gingivitis (the earliest form of gum disease) can help you get on top of it before it causes further damage. Be on the lookout for bleeding gums, bright red or puffy gums, and bad breath.
Visit Sheppard Family Dental Care to protect and maintain healthy gums.
Maintaining healthy gums is integral to good oral hygiene, as gum disease can contribute to serious health issues like tooth loss, heart disease, and stroke. To protect and maintain healthy gums, it is essential to visit your dentist regularly for preventive cleanings and evaluations. Sheppard Family Dental Care in Lawton, Oklahoma, offers comprehensive dental care to help you achieve and maintain optimal oral health. Request an appointment today and take the first step toward a healthier smile.