Gum disease is a progressive oral health condition that can compromise your smile. Also known as periodontal disease, gum disease typically starts out with minor symptoms. If ignored, these symptoms can get worse over time and even cause the need for tooth extractions.
While some people are predisposed to develop gum disease based on genetics and lifestyle factors such as smoking, in many cases, gum disease is entirely preventable. Here’s how you can stop gum disease from ruining your smile with a few simple steps.
Brush Your Teeth Twice a Day
Brushing your teeth is an essential part of removing plaque, which is a substance made up of bacteria that grows on the teeth. You can actually feel plaque on your teeth when you skip brushing or at the end of the day—it almost has a fuzzy feeling while brushed teeth feel smooth.
Plaque causes gum disease as it builds up around the gumline, which can irritate gum tissue and lead to ongoing inflammation and infection that can eventually compromise tooth structure. Fortunately, brushing regularly—at least once but preferably twice a day—removes plaque to keep your smile healthy !
Floss Once a Day
Just like brushing, flossing helps remove plaque and bacteria from teeth. However, the important thing about flossing is that it gets in between teeth in areas that a regular toothbrush simply can’t reach . People who skip flossing are missing crucial areas in their oral cavity when cleaning!
Since plaque is responsible for both tooth decay and gum disease, flossing once a day is an important part of any oral care routine. To floss properly, use a clean section of floss for every set of teeth you floss between and focus on flossing the sides of your teeth, not simply pulling the floss in and out of your teeth, which is not only ineffective but can hurt your gumline.
Visit Your Dentist
Visiting your dentist at least once a year or as recommended by your dentist can help you prevent gum disease. While brushing and flossing are certainly effective at preventing gum disease, your dentist can conduct a thorough cleaning of your teeth to remove the traces of plaque you can’t always see.
Your oral healthcare professional can also evaluate your smile for subtle signs of gum disease you might be missing . The earlier you catch gum disease, the easier it is to treat and to reverse, so don’t skip your regular appointments with your dentist!
Are You Seeing Signs of Gum Disease?
If you have inflamed, red, or bleeding gums, you could have gum disease. Other symptoms include sensitive teeth and a persistent bad taste in your mouth. Schedule an appointment with your dentist to determine if you could have an early stage of gum disease and what you can do to treat it—getting treatment now can save your smile and prevent tooth loss later in life!