5 Ways You Can Stop Gum Disease From Silently Surprising You
Use these tips to keep your mouth happy and healthy.
Maintaining healthy gums is just as important as taking care of your teeth when it comes to your oral health. However, many people don’t know just how serious gum disease can be and what they can do about it.
Follow these steps to take a proactive approach to gum disease and safeguard your long-term oral health.
1. Educate yourself on gum disease.
The first step in preventing gum disease is understanding what you’re dealing with.
Gum disease is incredibly common—in fact, many people don’t even realize they have it. Gingivitis is the earliest stage of gum disease, and it affects almost everyone at some point in their lives. Advanced gum disease affects nearly half of U.S. adults over 30.
Gum disease is often barely noticeable in the early stages. You should learn and watch for signs of gum disease, including:
- Bad breath.
- Swollen gums.
- Bleeding gums when brushing or flossing.
- Receding gums.
- Changes in your bite or the spacing of your teeth.
These signs are all reasons to reach out to your family dentist in Austin. Even if they aren’t related to gum disease, they likely indicate some issue your dentist can diagnose and treat.
It’s important to act quickly to prevent serious long-term oral health complications. Gum disease can eventually lead to tooth loss, and infection can spread to other parts of your body. Know the signs of gum disease, and don’t hesitate to contact your dentist if you have concerns.
2. Check your family history.
As with many other health conditions, your genetics can increase your risk of developing gum disease. While many factors play a role, gum disease has a genetic association that can’t be overlooked.
Check your family medical history to determine whether you’re at increased risk. A history of gum disease in your family doesn’t necessarily mean you’re predisposed to the condition, but it’s a good reason to watch for signs even more closely.
3. Look for other risk factors.
You should also be aware of other risk factors that can contribute to gum disease. For example, hormonal changes can increase the risk of gum disease, particularly in pregnant women. Pregnancy gingivitis is so common that it has its own name.
Various health conditions can increase risk as well. Diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and certain conditions that affect the immune system are all potential factors. Adverse reactions to select medications are also something to watch for.
To keep the list going, sleeping with your mouth open, potentially due to sleep apnea, reduces saliva flow and lets the bacteria responsible for gum disease thrive. It’s also a good idea to evaluate your diet, with issues like vitamin C deficiency being closely related to gum disease.
4. Keep up with routine dental visits.
The best thing you can do to prevent gum disease and mitigate its effects is to keep up with routine dental visits. Most patients should visit the dentist once every six months unless they have a specific condition that requires more frequent visits.
When you come in for a routine visit, you’ll receive a thorough teeth cleaning to remove plaque and tartar from the surface of your teeth. A good cleaning will eliminate the bacteria responsible for both tooth decay and gum disease.
Along with your cleaning, you’ll receive an examination for various oral health issues, including gum disease. Pockets around your gums are one sign the dental hygienist will check for, measuring depth precisely in millimeters. If you show signs of early gum disease, your dentist will provide specific instructions to help you stop it.
5. Maintain an effective oral hygiene routine.
The steps you take at home to maintain oral health are also crucial for preventing gum disease.
First, make it a point to brush twice daily for at least two minutes at a time, angling your brush at 45 degrees to get under the gum line. You should also floss each and every day, being careful to get between every tooth. Brushing and flossing in concert will prevent the growth of bacteria that cause gum disease.
Using mouthwash after brushing can also help combat gum disease by killing bacteria that survive your other oral hygiene habits. Your diet is also important, and it’s particularly crucial to make sure you are getting enough vitamin C. Avoiding sugary foods that encourage bacterial growth can reduce your risk of gum disease and tooth decay.
Take action to stop gum disease.
You can protect your and your family’s oral health with help from the best dentist in Austin for gum disease prevention and treatment. Routine visits to Parmer Lane Family Dentistry can prevent gum disease and identify any early warning signs.
Periodontal therapy, including deep-cleaning teeth, root scaling, and other treatments, fights gum disease and prevents it progressing to its later stages. Book an appointment today to find effective gum disease prevention and treatment options.