Did you know that almost half of adults over 30 have some form of gum disease? Periodontitis (gum disease) is an inflammation around the teeth, but it can cause problems beyond inflamed gums.
If you don’t treat gum disease, it can lead to more serious issues, including tooth and bone loss. Fortunately, the right daily habits and dental care can help you prevent these issues.
Periodontitis can affect anyone. It’s important to know how to protect your dental health. Here’s everything you should know about how to prevent gum disease.
Symptoms of Gum Disease
Healthy gums are pale pink and firm. There are six signs of gum disease which include:
- Swollen or inflamed gums
- Bleeding gums
- Loose teeth
- Formation of pockets between teeth
- Receding gums
- Chronic bad breath
If you have any of the symptoms of gum disease, see a dentist. Regular dental care is key in preventing and treating gum disease.
Causes of Gum Disease
Plaque is a buildup of a sticky layer of bacteria on the teeth. It accumulates on your teeth throughout the day.
Good daily health habits like brushing twice a day and flossing once a day can help you prevent plaque from building up on your teeth. When you fail to brush and floss, the plaque hardens to tartar and becomes harder to manage.
At this point, it takes a dentist or dental hygienist to remove the tartar. In addition, it can lead to inflammation and irritation of the gum line, also known as gingivitis, as tartar builds up.
If this goes untreated, the tartar will build up and cause the gums to pull away from the teeth, creating pockets where plaque, tartar, and bacteria can thrive.
The bacteria can lead to an infection resulting in tooth or bone loss. Some additional risk factors for developing gum disease include:
- Chewing tobacco
- Substance abuse
- Advanced age
- Poor nutrition
- Vitamin C deficiency
The good news is there are steps you can take to prevent gum disease on your own and with the help of your dentist.
Stages of Gum Disease
Gum disease is progressive. Without proper treatment, it can worsen over time. There are three main stages of gum disease.
Gingivitis is the earliest stage of gum disease. In this stage, plaque buildup irritates the soft tissue at the gum line. This irritation causes inflammation.
In this early stage, the connective tissue and bone are unaffected. However, proper treatment is necessary to stop the progression of gingivitis and reduce the damage.
The second stage of gum disease is periodontitis. In this stage, bacteria damage the fibers and bones that support your teeth.
Gums may begin to separate and form a pocket below the gum line. This traps food and plaque, leading to bacteria and infection below the gum line.
Over time, this can infect the bone and connective tissue surrounding your teeth. Proper dental services and good at-home oral hygiene practices can prevent further damage.
Advanced periodontitis is the final stage of gum disease. There is severe damage to the fibers and bone at this stage, causing teeth to loosen or shift.
This damage can interfere with your ability to receive dental work, including getting a crown or other forms of tooth restoration. However, even at this stage, your dentist can help.
Deep cleaning or gum therapy can help remove tartar from pockets between the teeth and gums. This can stop further damage to your bone and connective tissue.
Tips for How to Prevent Gum Disease
In most cases, gum disease is preventable. Practicing a few healthy daily habits and seeing your dentist regularly can help you avoid gum disease.
Practice Good Oral Hygiene
Gum disease doesn’t happen overnight. It progresses over time. Good oral hygiene, including brushing, flossing, and regular dental cleanings, can help prevent severe gum disease.
Eat a Healthy Diet
A healthy diet is critical for good overall health and a healthy smile. Staying away from sugary drinks and snacks can help prevent tooth decay.
Bacteria in plaque feed on sugars and carbs, producing acids that can damage your teeth and gums.
You can help protect your teeth and your smile by eating a healthy, balanced diet each day.
Add More Vitamin C to Your Diet
Vitamin C deficiency can lead to gum disease. Getting more vitamin C into your diet can help.
Eating more strawberries, oranges, kiwis, other foods high in vitamin C can help increase your resistance to gum disease. Adding a vitamin C supplement to your diet can help as well.
Drink More Water
Saliva is the body’s natural defense against dental plaque. After you eat, saliva washes away food particles and plaque.
Drinking water also helps with this cleansing process while keeping your body hydrated. Some drinks like coffee and alcohol can dehydrate the body. However, water is the best choice for a healthy mouth.
Get Regular Dental Cleanings
After a dental cleaning, a dentist checks for signs of gum disease or other problems. If you already have gum disease, your dentist can help you manage the condition.
Getting a dental cleaning and checkup every six months is one of the best ways to prevent or manage gum disease.
How to Prevent Gum Disease
Gum disease is a common problem that can lead to serious dental issues if left untreated. Fortunately, it’s easy to learn how to prevent gum disease or manage the situation.
Good oral hygiene practices like brushing and flossing regularly and getting professional cleanings every six months can help prevent future problems. If you see signs of gum disease, it’s essential to see a dentist as soon as possible.
We are committed to servicing all your dental needs in a comfortable, relaxed, and professional environment at the Dental Team. Over the last 20 years, we have expanded our locations to serve our community to Brampton, Mississauga, Milton, and Vaughan/Maple, Canada.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment.