One of the most common conditions that dentists will treat is gum disease. In fact, studies have shown that gum disease affects nearly half of the population over the age of 30. The percentage jumps to over 70% for people over 65 years old. This indicates that age can be a factor developing gum disease.
Gum disease is an infection that targets the gums. Without treatment, gum disease can do damage to more than just the gums. Advanced gum disease will affect the teeth and bones in your mouth. The earlier stages of gum disease—gingivitis—is highly treatable. However, the best way to combat gum disease is to avoid it in the first place.
While gum disease is common, that doesn’t mean that you are guaranteed to develop it. In fact, there are few ways that you can minimize your chances of gum disease altogether.
Proper Oral Hygiene
The easiest way to avoid gum disease is to have a solid oral health care routine. This means that you should brush your teeth at least twice a day or after meals. Flossing is another crucial step in your oral care routine. While brushing is necessary and effective, brushing alone cannot adequately clean your teeth. Flossing allows you to reach between your teeth or other places that your toothbrush cannot reach.
The reason you brush your teeth and focus on oral hygiene is because of plaque. Plaque is the sticky white substance that builds on your teeth. If you eat a lot of sugary foods or forget to brush your teeth, you may notice a “fuzzy” feeling on your teeth. You are feeling the plaque on your teeth. Plaque houses bacteria that can negatively affect your teeth and mouth.
Both good and bad bacteria reside in your mouth. However, the bacteria in plaque damages the environment of your mouth. While you eat, you leave behind small food particles that the bacteria feed. Bacteria create an acid that destroys the enamel, causing tooth decay.
As plaque builds on your teeth, it irritates the gums. Over time, the gums will begin to recede, creating more room for plaque. This is gum disease. Eventually, the gums will recede far enough that the roots of the teeth are exposed, leaving them vulnerable to falling out.
Regular Dental Visits
One way to avoid gum disease is to visit your dentist regularly. When you make routine appointments, your dentist will be able to thoroughly inspect your teeth and gums. This is an excellent preventative measure. During each visit, your dentist will take x-rays of your teeth, which will allow them to have a full picture of your oral health.
Also, at each routine appointment, a dental hygienist will clean and buff your teeth. This ensures that your teeth are strong and healthy. Your hygienist will be able to clean places that you may not be able to reach with just brushing and flossing. Whatever your oral health care routine leaves behind, your routine cleanings will remove.