Gum disease, officially known as gingivitis, is a fairly common infection of the gums around your teeth. In its most severe form, it can develop into periodontitis and require the help of a specialist periodontist to sort out. Loock Dental have some tips for you on how to prevent gum disease from developing into a problem.
Gum disease can not only lead to the loss of teeth, it can increase your risk of diabetes and heart problems, as we discussed in a previous post on the link between your oral health and your overall health.
How do you stop it from happening to you or your children in the first place?
- Practice good oral hygiene
The best prevention is brushing twice a day and flossing at least once. You can learn more about good oral hygiene practices in our previous post on this topic, including this special post on smile school for children.
For gum health in particular, it’s important not to select too hard a toothbrush and scrubbing with too much pressure on the gums. Brushing with a gentle circular motion is sufficient.
Replace your toothbrush every 3 months, as an old one won’t clean as well. Need help selecting a toothbrush? Try our helpful post on this subject, as there are so many choices out there!
- Get your teeth professionally cleaned
You should try to visit an oral hygienist twice a year for a thorough cleaning, as plaque and tartar build up is a major cause of gum disease.
Most oral hygienists are attached to your dentists’ practice, or your dentist will be able to recommend someone local for you. Loock dental have an oral hygienist who we recommend you visit every 3-6 months, and our receptionist would be happy to book this service for you.
The oral hygienist will perform a scale and polish, where they use special tools to remove any plaque and tartar build up, especially in those difficult to reach places. They then polish your teeth and give you a special fluoride rinse to strengthen and protect them.
- Watch your diet
As we discussed in a post on how diet affects your oral health, water is the healthiest drink. Not only is it free of sugars , acids and staining agents, it also it helps rinse teeth of harmful acids present in other foods, including healthy treats like fresh fruit.
Good food choices impact your gums in other ways. Sugary foods increase chances of infection, while food containing immune system-boosting vitamins (like vitamin C), help protect you from gum disease.
- Quit smoking
Smokers are 7 times as likely to suffer from gum disease as non smokers, so there is another great reason to kick the habit!
- Get teeth grinding problems sorted out
Grinding or clenching teeth can cause many problems, as we discussed in a previous post, but one of them is that it can put excess pressure on your gums and lead to an increased risk of gum disease. Your dentist can diagnose if you are grinding your teeth (especially if it happens in your sleep and you aren’t aware of it) and suggest treatment options.
Gum disease can be prevented, and even reversed once it takes hold, but early detection and proper care are very important. If you are unsure whether you have already got gum disease or are in danger of developing it, book an appointment to discuss this with your dentist.