Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is one of the most dangerous oral health risks. Often off the radar compared to cavities, missing teeth, or even whitening, one of the most ignored conditions is also the most serious.
Gum disease is an inflammatory condition that affects the tissue surrounding teeth. It starts as bad breath or gingivitis, then develops into a full blown infection that can cause gum tissue to recede away from teeth, and eventually cause tooth loss. As scary as that is, gum disease doesn’t only affect your mouth. It can also significantly increase your chances of heart disease, stroke, and even pancreatic cancer.
Even though the likelihood of gum disease increases with age, there are still several key measures you can take to fight it. Here are three of the best steps to beat gum disease.
Don’t Forget to Brush
Gum disease is generally caused by a buildup of specific bacteria that infect tissue around the teeth. In order to limit the opportunity for this bacteria to multiply, maintaining a solid oral hygiene routine is key. According to the American Dental Association, patients should brush their teeth twice a day for a minimum of two minutes. Plaque can harden within 48 hours, and begins to eat enamel and multiply after 24, so the best time to brush is before bed and when you wake up.
When brushing, don’t forget your gums. Make circular motions at a forty-five degree angle perpendicular to your gum line, making sure not to forget under your tongue.
Floss Once a Day
Your toothbrush can’t do it alone, so you need to call in backup. Troublesome bacteria feed on starch and sugar found in your food, and if you leave any overnight in hard to reach places such as between your teeth, you’re giving basically throwing that bacteria a party.
Floss also allows you to clean out plaque that has become trapped below the gum line. When flossing correctly, you’ll need about fifteen inches of floss, wrapped around your fingers. Start at the back, and gentle place the floss on each side of a tooth, dipping below the gum line periodically. Keep in mind that bleeding gums is the beginning signs of gum disease.
Cleanings and Checkups
Regularly scheduled dental appointments can be one of the most important steps to avoid gum disease. Plaque that has hardened can only be removed by dental tools, and plaque will inevitably form over time. This hardened plaque allows gum disease bacteria to grow in greater numbers. Two cleanings a year are suggested to clear plaque that has become trapped, and to lower the likelihood of gum disease developing.
Another major benefit of regularly seeing a dentist is treating any complications before they can progress. Advanced gum disease doesn’t happen immediately. It develops over time. Maintaining a relationship with your dentist means you’ve got an extra pair of eyes looking out for your mouth.
If it’s been awhile since you’ve had an appointment, it’s time to schedule. If you’re looking for a general dentist in Scripps Ranch, please call (858) 271-1010 today for an appointment with Dr.G at Oasis Dental Arts.