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What is Gum Disease and How Can it Be Prevented?
Gum disease is an inflammation of the gums and the tissues surrounding it, which is caused primarily by poor oral hygiene. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, over 80 percent of adults have some form of gum disease, and over 90 percent of those who have it do not know they do.
Gum disease and prevention
Gum disease is known for what it can do to one’s oral health. But, it has been linked to other health problems like heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and cancer, making it a disease that should be taken seriously. Fortunately, it is also something that can be prevented by practicing good oral hygiene.
Here are some tips on how to practice good oral hygiene and prevent gum disease:
Brushing and flossing regularly
The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends brushing the teeth regularly, which means it should be done at least twice a day. The best time to brush is in the morning and right before going to bed. Ideally, people should brush their teeth after each meal. Since that can be difficult to do, rinsing the mouth out after every meal and chewing a piece of sugar-free gum will help to wash away the bacteria in the mouth after a meal.
Failure to brush regularly leads to the plaque on the teeth turning into tartar, which gets under the gum and leads to gum disease. Flossing on a regular basis also helps to prevent gum disease. The food that is stuck in the teeth will eventually rot and cause more problems in the mouth if they are left there.
Avoid tobacco products
Cigarettes and smokeless tobacco contain carcinogens that are dangerous to both oral and general health. The chemicals are especially harmful to the gums and can lead to gingivitis or more serious periodontal disease. That is why dentists usually ask their patients to quit using tobacco.
Limit sugar intake
The sugar in the foods and drinks people consume on a daily basis is one of the leading causes of tooth decay and gum disease. The bacteria in the mouth feed off the sugar and create acids that wear down the enamel, which eventually leads to cavities.
Use fluoride mouthwash
Fluoride is one of the best weapons in the fight against cavities. That is why it is found in toothpaste and in public water. Using a mouthwash that contains fluoride helps to fight cavities and the other bacteria in the mouth while keeping the breath fresh.
Get regular checkups
The ADA also recommends seeing the dentist at least twice a year for regular checkups to help keep the mouth healthy. Dentists will check for signs of gum disease during routine exams and will be able to catch and treat the problem if it is noticed early, making the regular visits an important part of one’s oral care.
Gum disease negatively impacts both your oral and general health, which is why it is important to pay attention to your oral health. If your gums bleed when you brush your teeth or you just want to make sure you do not have gum disease, schedule an appointment with your dentist to get your gums examined.
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