Gum disease is categorized by red and inflamed gums and is one of the most common oral health problems among adults. According to Mark Ryder, DMD, chair of the division of periodontology at the University of California, San Francisco School of Dentistry, gum disease normally occurs in areas you aren't brushing very well. When bacteria accumulate on the surfaces of your teeth, your gums can get inflamed. If this dental issue is not treated soon enough, it can lead to tooth loss and hurt your overall health.
Here are five ways to lower your risk of gum disease:
Put Down Those Cigarettes
Are you still smoking those cigarettes? If so, you not only risk damaging your heart and lungs, you also increase your chances of developing gum disease. Since smoking can weaken your immune system, your body will have a difficult time fighting off gum infections, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Quitting the habit is no easy task, but it can help lower your risk of developing this oral health issue.
Invest in an Electric Toothbrush
Although a standard toothbrush is fine for cleaning your teeth, it is not as effective as an electric toothbrush. This toothbrush will deeply clean your gums, removing the plaque and bacteria that lead to gingivitis. An electric toothbrush also does most of the work, so you will not have put in as much effort to brush your teeth. Although an electric toothbrush is pricier than a manual one, it is worth the investment.
Eat Vitamin C Rich Foods
If you want to keep your gums healthy and strong, you should include plenty of vitamin C–rich foods in your diet. Since vitamin C boosts your immune system, it can prevent bacteria from getting into your gums. Good vitamin C–rich foods include oranges, papaya, strawberries, broccoli and bell peppers.
Use an Antibacterial Mouthwash
Even if you brush and floss daily, you could still benefit from using mouthwash. If you rinse with an antibacterial mouthwash after you brush your teeth, it could clean areas of your teeth that your toothbrush missed. If you gargle mouthwash for at least 30 seconds, you could lower your risk of developing gum disease in the future.
Use a Tongue Scraper
Did you know bacteria can easily accumulate on your tongue? If the bacteria is not removed quickly enough, it could travel to your gums and cause an infection. That is why it is a good idea to clean your tongue with a tongue scraper every day. After you brush your teeth in the morning, place the scraper at the end of your tongue and carefully work your way forward.
If you follow these helpful tips, you can lower your risk of developing gum disease in the future. However, if you still notice that your gums are redder or puffier than usual, you should make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. He can assess your gums and determine the best course of action.
If the gum disease has not progressed too much, your dentist may recommend scaling and root planing. During this procedure, your dentist will deeply clean your gums with a scraping tool. Although this is a non-surgical procedure, you may require a local anesthetic to numb your gums.
A surgical treatment may be necessary if the disease is in the later stages. Flap surgery is one of the most common surgical treatments used for advanced gum disease and involves lifting back the gums to remove tartar. This procedure decreases the space between the gum and tooth, making it more difficult for bacteria to grow on your gums. For more information about your treatment options, contact a professional such as Dr Phil Nasralla dentist in Comox Valley.