Gum disease (gingivitis) is caused by plaque, a sticky layer that builds up around teeth and contains bacteria. The gums become inflamed, sore, and infected. In some cases, gum disease progresses to periodontitis, a condition that may cause teeth to fall out. Gingivitis is very common, but there are simple steps you can take at home and with the help of your dentist to prevent it.
How to Avoid Gum Disease
1. Brush & Floss
Poor oral hygiene is one of the major causes of gum disease. Brush your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes each time, using a toothbrush with soft bristles. Brush after each meal and before bedtime. Also, be sure to floss at least once a day, which will remove food and plaque from areas that a toothbrush can’t reach.
2. Eat Well
The bacteria that form plaque feed on sugar, which is why foods like candy and cakes, along with sugary soda drinks, should be avoided as much as possible.
Starchy foods such as potato chips get stuck between teeth and are difficult to remove. Some foods help to keep gums healthy. Vegetables and unflavored dairy products lead to more saliva production, which reduces bacteria.
3. Avoid Smoking
Smoking increases the risk of gum disease, so if you smoke, you should try to quit as soon as possible. The body’s immune system is made weaker by smoking, which makes it more difficult to combat gum infections. Gum damage also takes longer to heal in people who smoke.
4. See a Dentist Regularly
Your dentist will thoroughly clean your teeth during a check-up. Professional cleaning tackles tartar, a substance that forms when plaque builds up and becomes hard. Removing tartar by yourself is very difficult, which is why dental cleanings are important. If you have no oral health problems, you can get a checkup once or twice a year.
To get regular professional cleanings and advice on avoiding gum disease, contact Revercomb Dental Group in Manlius, NY. Founded in 1974, this community-focused family dentist offers a wide range of services, including sedation dentistry, panoramic X-rays, and same-day crowns. They see patients out of hours in case of emergency. Call (315) 682-8400 to schedule an appointment or visit them online for more information.