Gum disease is an infection that damages the soft tissue of the mouth. It typically starts at gingivitis—at this point, it is still reversible. Gingivitis is common in adults who don’t floss regularly. With some better oral health habits such as brushing, flossing, and cleaning regularly, gingivitis can be reversed, and the gums can turn to good health. However, if ignored, gingivitis can turn into periodontitis, which is more serious. According to Medical News Today periodontitis means “inflammation around the tooth.” Untreated gum disease can lead to tooth loss and other serious issues such as a stroke, heart attack, and other health problems. The good news is that periodontitis is preventable. Practicing these good oral habits can help you keep your mouth healthy.
Brush Your Teeth
The best way to take care of your teeth is to brush them regularly. Brushing morning and evening will help to remove food debris and plaque from your teeth and gums. It can also be helpful to brush after eating meals. Be sure to brush your tongue as well—bacteria can grow there.
Aside from brushing, flossing is the best thing you can do for your gum health. Flossing should be done every day. According to a survey done by the American Dental Association, only 16% of Americans say they floss daily. Flossing can reach places that brushing just can’t. When you floss, food particles and plaque are removed from between your teeth—without flossing the risk of gum disease and tooth decay increases exponentially.
Fluoride protects your teeth from decay and your gums from disease. You can find fluoride in toothpaste, mouthwash, dental cleanings, and even some water. Many cities have included fluoride in their municipal water lines. Fluoride slows the breakdown of enamel and increases remineralization which protects your teeth and gums from deterioration. Protect your oral health by increasing your fluoride intake.
Mouthwash can help to wash away food particles and plaque that lead to gum disease. If brushing and flossing had left any food debris behind, mouthwash can reach those difficult to reach places. It will also leave you with some fresher smelling breath. Be sure to use a mouthwash that does not contain alcohol—it can be more harmful than helpful.
See the Dentist
Regular visits to the dentist mean regular cleanings and checkups. Cleanings and fluoride treatments will help you to avoid gum disease and tooth decay. It will also help you catch tooth decay and gum disease before they become a real problem. When gum disease first starts, it is still reversible. If left untreated, it can continue to spread and affect other parts of your oral health. You should be going to the dentist for a cleaning and checkup about every six months. Don’t skip out on those dental checkups or you may pay for it later.