5 Ways to Avoid Gum Disease

5 Ways to Avoid Gum Disease

Periodontal disease (or gum disease) is a common problem for many people, especially older adults. As a child, gums are usually a healthy pink color, with teeth fitting nicely against the gum line. As you age, however, you may notice some of the signs of gum disease – red or swollen gums, bleeding gums (especially while brushing your teeth), tooth sensitivity, tender gums, bad breath or even a receding gum line where your gums seem to be pulling away from your teeth. Whether you’ve already been diagnosed with gum disease or simply wish to avoid the issue altogether, here are some ways to curb the problem.

1. Brush 2x Day

Like most dental problems, plaque is the main culprit behind gum disease. Plaque is full of bacteria that can wreak havoc on your teeth and gums. Frequent brushing removes plaque so the bacteria don’t have a chance to grow or cause problems.

2. Floss Often

Most dentists urge patients to floss often, and there is a good reason for this advice – flossing is one of the best ways to prevent gum disease. While brushing your teeth is always a great way to remove plaque, the bristles simply can’t reach all the plaque and bacteria that settles between your teeth or against your gum line. You should floss every day to keep bacteria away.

3. Rinse With Mouthwash

Brushing and flossing should be your first lines of defense against plaque, but sometimes there are still food particles and plaque left behind. That’s where mouthwash is helpful. A good rinse with mouthwash can remove any leftover plaque you missed from brushing and flossing. Mouthwash should be the final step in any good oral hygiene routine.

4. Know Gum Disease Risk Factors

Even with the steps mentioned above, some people are simply more predisposed to develop gum disease than others. Certain hereditary factors or lifestyle choices may contribute to higher chances of gum disease. These include:
  • Diet: A healthy diet that is full of fruits and vegetables is always best for your body. Studies show that gum disease develops more often when your diet is full of sugars, starches, and fats.
  • Tobacco use: If you smoke or use any other tobacco products, you’re at a greater risk of developing gum disease.
  • Diabetes: Gum disease is an infection, and diabetic patients are more likely to develop infections in general.
  • Medications: There are many prescription and over-the-counter medications that increase your chances of developing gum disease. Check with your pharmacist to see if any of your medications carry this risk.
  • Hormones: Gum disease is sometimes caused by fluctuations in female hormones. It’s not unusual for a pregnant or menstruating woman to develop gum disease when progesterone and other hormone levels rise.
  • Gender: Men are more likely to develop gum disease than women, though it’s quite common for both genders.
  • Age: People generally develop gum disease as they get older. It’s common for signs to first appear during your 30s or 40s.
While some of these risk factors are unavoidable, it’s always wise to know your susceptibility to any disease. Other risk factors, such as smoking, are completely avoidable. In these cases, it’s possible to reduce your risk of gum disease by simply changing your lifestyle.

5. Have Regular Periodontal Checkups

Finally, one of the best ways to avoid gum disease is to schedule regular dental checkups. Your dentist checks for any signs of gum disease, and he or she can give you more specific advice for avoiding gum disease in the future. The team at Dental Health Partners is always happy to answer any additional questions you may have about gum disease or other dental issues. You can call one of our offices to schedule your appointment today!

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