Gum disease is widespread, with periodontitis linked to over 50 systemic diseases and conditions. The oral health issue can lead to a wide range of problems if left untreated, such as tooth loss and even general health complications like heart disease.
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is a type of gum infection that occurs as a result of bacterial buildup. There are two main types of gum disease: gingivitis and periodontitis.
Gingivitis is the early stage of gum disease and can be reversed entirely with proper at-home and professional dental care.
Periodontitis occurs when gingivitis is not treated and your stage of gum disease progresses. Periodontal disease is permanent and must be managed through a variety of treatments depending on how severe your gum disease is.
Common signs of gum disease include sensitivity, redness, or swelling of the gums, chronic halitosis, bleeding gums, loose teeth, and a receding gum line. Not all patients with gum disease will experience symptoms, so seeing your dentist regularly is an important part of prevention and early detection.
How to Prevent Gum Disease
Maintain a Thorough Oral Hygiene Routine
One of the simplest ways to keep gum disease at bay is by taking proper care of your teeth at home on the daily. Make sure you brush twice a day and floss at least once a day. The manner in which you brush and floss matters, too. Educate yourself on the proper oral care techniques needed to get your teeth fully clean.
Practice Healthy Habits
Certain lifestyle factors will affect the state of your mouth. For example, your diet can either aid in keeping your smile healthy or be detrimental. Try to choose meals with plenty of nutrients in them to improve the health of your gums and steer clear of too much sugar.
Other oral habits such as smoking can also impact your risk of gum disease. Smokers are more prone to developing gum disease since smoking lessens circulation that your gums need to stay in good condition.
Don’t Skip the Dentist
Though at-home care is key to good oral health, a professional teeth cleaning is necessary to fully rid your mouth of plaque and bad bacteria. In addition to giving your teeth and gums a thorough cleaning, your dentist will be able to detect early signs of gum disease so you can intervene before it progresses.
The way you care for your teeth every day will play into your risk of gum disease, so be diligent in your oral hygiene. With good oral maintenance, smart choices, and regular dental visits, preventing gum disease is simple. If you think you may be suffering from gingivitis or periodontitis, contact Dentistry at East Piedmont today to assess the health of your mouth and get your teeth and gums back in good shape.
Originally published September 2019 and updated February 2022.