Gum disease is an all-too-common oral health issue in the U.S. In fact, a recent study by the CDC (Center for Disease Control) estimates that over 47% of adults in the U.S. suffer from periodontal disease. That’s an alarming number considering how relatively easy it is to prevent gum disease. Left untreated, this condition can lead to tooth loss and deterioration of bone tissue. Resolving gum disease once you’ve developed it can include everything from a deep cleaning to gum surgery. Fortunately, you can stop it long before you get to that point. What follows are some simple tips on how to avoid developing periodontal disease.
- A good oral hygiene routine at home – The foundation for any type of preventive oral health care begins with the daily habits you practice each and every day at home. Most of us know that it’s important to brush at least twice a day and floss at least once a day. But your gums would benefit from expanding that routine. Instead of flossing just once a day, floss twice a day after each time you brush your teeth. Purchase a water flosser to use after regular flossing. You’ll be amazed at how many food particles are left behind even after brushing the flossing, and a water flosser is an excellent tool to remove that debris. And, finally, rinse with an anti-bacterial mouthwash at least once a day. Look for a rinse that claims to “fight gingivitis” and that is approved by the ADA (American Dental Association).
- Adopt healthy personal habits – Maintain a healthy diet by avoiding too much starch and sugar. Foods like candy and baked goods, for example, increase plaque production. Choose a balanced plant-based diet instead; preferably one that includes low-fat dairy products and lean protein. Remember that some drinks contain a lot of sugar and acidic ingredients, both of which are terrible for your teeth and gums. Instead, choose to drink water (fluoridated, if possible) and low-fat dairy products. Avoid tobacco use of any kind, whether it’s cigarettes or smokeless tobacco, both of which will make you more susceptible for both oral cancer and gum disease.
- Visit your dentist regularly for oral exams and professional cleanings – Even the most diligent person can’t remove all the plaque and tartar that build up on teeth by at-home oral hygiene alone. And deposits that form under the gum line can quickly develop into gum disease if they’re not removed. See you dentist at least twice a year and more often if you’re prone to gum issues.
While it may be unsettling to know that almost half of the adults in this country have some stage of periodontal disease, take comfort in knowing that you don’t have to be included in that statistic. Follow these simple tips to prevent gum disease before it ever begins.