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What Can I Do to Prevent Gum Disease?

What Can I Do to Prevent Gum Disease?

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that 2 in 5 Americans ages 30 and older have some form of gum disease. This condition — in which the gums get inflamed due to a buildup of bacteria — can cause many complications, such as tender gums, bad breath, painful chewing, and even tooth loss.

Our providers at Brite Dental Spa in Midtown West, New York City, can help you protect your gums against gum disease. In this blog, they explain what gum disease is, how it can develop, and how you can protect your gums.

What is gum disease?

When bacteria in your mouth mixes with starchy foods, a sticky film called plaque forms. You can remove plaque by brushing your teeth and flossing regularly. However, if you have poor oral hygiene habits, plaque can harden into tartar, which is a hard substance that needs to be removed by a dentist.

If plaque and tartar are not removed, they can build up around the gumline and cause inflammation, which is the first stage of gum disease called gingivitis. If the plaque and tartar remain, they can damage the gum tissue and even destroy bone, which can lead to loose teeth and even tooth loss. This latter stage is called periodontitis

How can I prevent getting gum disease? 

Gum disease is preventable. The following are good tips on how to keep your gums healthy:

Brush and floss twice a day 

Maintaining good dental hygiene means brushing and flossing at least two times a day. And to help allay bad breath and fight bacteria, use a mouthwash. 

When it comes to flossing, it may be helpful to use a water flosser, because the power of the water can help remove bits of food in your teeth. If you have difficulty flossing or brushing because of overcrowded teeth, bridgework, or braces, your Brite Dental Spa dentist can recommend special floss and tools to make the job easier and more effective.

Get biannual cleanings  

There’s a reason why dentists recommend having your teeth cleaned professionally every six months. Even with the most diligent brushing and flossing, you can't remove all of the plaque on your own.

The next time you’re at Brite Dental Spa for treatment or a cleaning, schedule your next visit at the same time. That way, you won’t forget to schedule it once you leave the office. 

Don’t use tobacco 

Using tobacco places you at double the risk for developing gum disease compared to people who don’t smoke, use pipes, or chew tobacco. And, if you already have gum disease, smoking and tobacco use can make you more resistant to treatment. 

Know your risk factors and manage them 

The older you are, the more likely you are to have gum disease. Genetics can also be a culprit. If others in your family have had gum disease, you may develop it, too. Be sure to tell your dentist about any family history of gum disease. 

And, certain medical conditions, such as diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis, can place you at greater risk for developing gum disease. Stress, grinding or clenching your teeth, fluctuations in hormone levels, and medicines that create dry mouth can also make you more prone to developing gum disease. If any of these things affect you, talk to your dentist to learn how you can minimize your risk factors.

Ensure proper nutrition 

Eat a balanced diet. Poor nutrition can not only lead to tooth decay, but it can also prevent your body from effectively resisting infections, such as the ones involved with gum disease. Furthermore, having low levels of certain vitamins, such as vitamin C, can also put you at greater risk for developing gum disease. 

If you’d like to learn more about preventing or treating gum disease, or if you need any other kind of dental care, book an appointment online or over the phone with Brite Dental Spa today.

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