When most people think of healthy smiles, they think of ultra-white teeth and fresh-smelling breath—but that’s not all there is to it. The health of your mouth can drastically affect your overall health as well, for better or for worse.
Did you know that 47.2% of adults 30 years of age and older have some form of gum disease? It’s a common problem, thanks in large part to its painless nature—as well as how many adults avoid going to the dentist for regular check-ups. Keep reading for more information on this common problem and how you can best prevent gum disease!
Gum Disease 101
There are many varying stages of gum disease, but all of it starts with plaque. Plaque is something that forms in your mouth when bacteria is left to its own devices. It can lead to infections in your gums and bones, and will (if left untreated) eventually lead to gum disease.
Here are some common signs and symptoms to watch out for:
- Tender, red, or swollen gums;
- Gums that bleed easily;
- Gums that are pulling away from your teeth;
- Consistently bad breath;
- Loose adult teeth.
How to Prevent Gum Disease
The great thing about gum disease? It’s preventable! Not to mention that, in its early stages, some damage caused by gum disease can be reversed. The key is active prevention, as well as early detection. Here are some of the most effective ways to prevent gum disease:
Flossing just once a day can make a huge difference in your oral health and hygiene. Not only does it help remove plaque (the stuff that causes gum disease!) from hard-to-reach places, but you’ll also be able to more easily tell if your gums are bleeding abnormally as opposed to bleeding because you don’t floss often enough.
Like with a lot of diseases, smoking is strongly associated with gum disease. Not only does smoking weaken your immune system (making you more prone to infection): It can also slow the healing process after your gums have been damaged.
If you aren’t already using toothpaste with fluoride in it, what are you waiting for? A lot of toothpaste brands claim to prevent gum disease, but not all of them do. When choosing a toothpaste, make sure it contains fluoride and has the ADA seal of acceptance.
See Your Dentist Regularly
In addition to brushing your teeth twice a day, this is probably the best thing you can do for your gums. Because gum disease is often painless, it can be really difficult to tell when there’s an issue until it’s too late. Not to mention that your dentist (and their wide range of cleaning tools) are much more effective at removing plaque than you are! Make sure you get a check-up and a thorough cleaning at least twice a year, and you’re well on your way to avoiding gum disease.
Ready to Make an Appointment?
If you’ve been putting off seeing your dentist, now is the time to book an appointment and take charge of your health! LeCroy Dental is ready to help you in a relaxing, stress-free environment. Contact our office today to set up an appointment!