Tender gums can make eating, chewing, and even talking a pain — literally. Over 90 percent of adults have some form of active gum disease by age 30. When plaque is left on and between the teeth, tartar can form at the gum line, causing issues like gum disease. Properly caring for your teeth and gums is the best defense against the development of gum disease.
Brush Your Way to Healthy Gums
The first step to healthy gums is healthy teeth. Brushing twice daily with fluoride toothpaste helps keep plaque from building up on teeth and the gum line. When brushing, make sure to position the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle up toward the gum line, and use a circular motion. This removes plaque from the gum line as well as the teeth.
Flossing is essential to gum health. Floss at least once daily to remove plaque between your teeth before it hardens into tartar. Use 18 inches of floss in an up-down motion against the tooth and around the gum line, forming a "C" shape. Adding an antiseptic mouth rinse to your oral health routine can also kill plaque-causing bacteria.
Make Healthy Choices
Your lifestyle and diet affect the health of your teeth and gums. Limiting sugary and starchy foods and beverages can help prevent plaque buildup, as does brushing after eating sweets. Also, avoid smoking since it’s associated with gum disease.
Preventing Gum Disease
Daily at-home care is the best prevention, but it’s also important to visit your dentist at least every six months for regular cleanings. A professional cleaning is the only way to remove tartar from the teeth, and a dentist can check your gums for early warning signs of disease. Two major complications of poor gum health include gingivitis and periodontitis.
- Gingivitis is early gum disease caused by bacteria like plaque and tartar left on the teeth and gums. Gingivitis can cause painful inflammation of the gums, but it’s reversible with daily brushing and flossing and keeping regular cleaning appointments with your dentist.
- Periodontitis, inflammation around a tooth, occurs after gingivitis is left untreated. It’s when the gums pull away from the teeth and form pockets that become infected. Like any infection, the body’s immune system tries to fight it, breaking down the bone and tissues holding the teeth in place. If not treated, the result is bone, gum, and tooth loss and sometimes dental pain.
Warning Signs of Gum Disease
Gum disease can affect more than just the health of your mouth; it can raise your risk for chronic health conditions like heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, and even cancer. It’s imperative to catch the early warning signs of gum disease before it’s too late. Watch out for the following:
- Swollen or bleeding gums
- Bad breath
- Loose teeth
- Sensitive teeth and gums
- Receding gum line (teeth looking "longer")
- Pockets around gums
The dental professionals at Klement Family Dental are experts in preventative treatments to help you and your family maintain a healthy smile. Call 727-498-1959 727-498-1959 to schedule a professional cleaning today, and get started on your path to disease prevention.