It’s a fact that not a lot of people spend a lot of time thinking about their gums. Even though they’re literally just there, they’re easy to forget. But if you really care about your dental health, you should also learn how to prevent gum diseases.
As you would know by now, your gums play a huge role in your oral and dental health. But it can also impact your overall health if you contract gum disease. This is why you should pay close attention to it and make sure that it’s always in tip-top shape.
How do you do that? This guide should help you out.
Table of Contents
- 1 The Basics about Gum Diseases
- 2 Prevention is Better than Cure: 5 Ways to Effectively Prevent Gum Diseases
- 3 What Should You Do If You Already Have Gingivitis?
The Basics about Gum Diseases
Also known as the gingiva, your gums pretty much serves as a nest, anchor, and holder of your teeth. They make sure that your pearly whites are kept in line and serve as shock absorbers. They help cushion the impact of the grinding down of the food that you consume.
It’s pretty easy to tell if your gums are in good health. If it looks pink and firm, then there’s a very good chance that your smile is in great shape. It should also have a stippled surface and a nicely fitted contour around each tooth.
If they’re swollen and soft, it could be afflicted with gum disease. Dark red gums can also be a symptom of this condition but it still depends on your ethnicity and complexion. African Americans tend to have a darker shade of pink of healthy gums, so as a rule of thumb, if it’s darker than what should be the normal shade of your gums, then it could be a telltale sign of gum disease.
Dark lines around the gum line and gum recession should also clue you in that you have a serious gum disease. Bad breath and teeth sensitivity are also popular symptoms of periodontal disease. These indicate serious bacterial growth and that you should do something about it right away.
What kind of gum diseases should you be on the lookout for? There are two general types of this health concern. The first one is gingivitis.
It’s best described as the inflammation of the gums and is considered as a mild condition. It doesn’t even cause pain but it can make your gums bleed easily.
This condition may not seem like much but not treating gingivitis can lead to more serious issues. For starters, it can result in periodontitis. This condition also causes inflammation on the supporting structures around your teeth. It can cause bone and soft tissue damage which can then result in tooth loss and infection.
In some cases, the infection doesn’t stay just in the oral cavities. The mouth bacteria that are wreaking havoc in your mouth can travel to other parts of your body. This can then result in a host of other serious ailments including heart disease, diabetes, and respiratory diseases.
With these, it should be quite easy to see that you should never go easy on gum diseases. If you feel like there’s something off about your gums, you should immediately seek your dentist’s help. They can then help you in treating the said condition.
Prevention is Better than Cure: 5 Ways to Effectively Prevent Gum Diseases
It would also be better if you can prevent periodontal diseases from affecting your health. The techniques in how to prevent gum diseases are actually pretty simple, so you should certainly learn about them. If you’re able to stop gum diseases from harming you in the first place, you can lessen your risks of developing other serious ailments as well.
How do you prevent gum disease? Here are four ways to prevent gum diseases:
Maintain good oral hygiene.
As mentioned above, your good oral hygiene will do wonders for your gum health. If your oral health is in top shape, then there’s a very good chance that your gums will be healthy, too.
How is this possible? The explanation for this is very simple. With good oral hygiene, the bacteria growth inside your mouth will be kept in a good balance. This will definitely help keep the growth of bad bacteria in control and prevent its infestation inside your mouth.
What does good oral hygiene with a special focus on your gum health entail?
For starters, you need to brush your teeth regularly. The American Dental Association says that everyone should brush their teeth twice a day. This can help prevent risks of different kinds of oral infections.
However, you can’t just brush your choppers willy-nilly. The ADA has created their own guide in proper brushing but you can also consult your dentist for more detailed recommendations. Since they know your oral health situation, they can make precise suggestions that can help in your efforts in gum diseases prevention.
It’s also recommended that you floss your teeth or use interdental cleaners properly and thoroughly at least once a day. Doing so can help you thoroughly clean the spaces between your teeth which are not easily reached by toothbrushes.
It’s your choice when to floss your teeth, as long as you do it once daily. So if you’re wondering when is the best time to do this grooming task, the answer would be the most convenient time for you to do it. This will ensure that you will floss and clean your teeth thoroughly.
Using mouthwash is also recommended for gum disease prevention. This additional oral care product helps further kill bad bacteria inside your mouth which then helps balance the levels of microfauna.
See your dentist regularly.
Going to dentist appointments regularly might just be the best way to prevent gum disease, if you’ll ask us. Sure, having good oral hygiene would be the most basic answer to the question, ‘how to avoid gum disease?’, but seeing a dentist regularly can help you do more.
With a professional’s guidance, you can expertly monitor your oral health situation. Your dentist can help you stay on the lookout for signs of gingivitis. They can also spot early signs of the condition which can be the most important thing in preventing periodontal disease.
As mentioned above, they can also give you special tips and information on how to prevent gum disease. Since they know your dental health status well, they can give you special recommendations that can further keep your teeth and gums in great shape. These will be very useful in preventing gingivitis.
If there’s one thing that you should give up to reduce gingivitis risks, it would be smoking. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), smoking is a major cause of gum diseases in the US.
Why and how? Studies show that tobacco weakens the immune system which can then compromise your body’s ability to fight off infection. Gum disease is caused by bacterial infection so by weakening the body’s ability to protect itself, you’re setting yourself up for trouble.
Simply put, if you smoke, your body will find it harder to fight off infections. This explains why smokers are more at risk of developing periodontal diseases.
What’s even worse is that smoking doesn’t just make it hard for you to prevent gingivitis, it also makes it difficult to treat. If you already have gum disease and you still continue to smoke, treatments won’t be as effective as they could be.
As there are certain substances in tobacco that makes it harder for soft tissues to repair themselves, it will be a bigger challenge for your body to heal itself after it got infected. This is why quitting smoking is essential if you want to completely fight off periodontal diseases.
Know if you’re at risk of gum diseases.
Another important element of gingivitis prevention is knowing whether you have high chances of having the condition. Some folks have a higher risk of having this ailment so they have to be stricter in taking preventive measures.
Who are at risk of gum diseases? Here are some of the risk factors of this ailment:
- Age. Studies show that older folks are more prone to having gum disease. In fact, a survey shows that over 70% of people aged 65 and up have this condition.
- Smoking. As mentioned above, tobacco use can make you more prone to gum issues.
- Stress. This can take a toll on your immune system so those who are also often stressed out have a higher risk of getting a gum problem.
- Genetics. As it turns out, some folks are more genetically inclined to get gum disease than others.
- Use of select medications. There are some cases wherein some medications can also compromise your health in other ways. Sometimes, it results in gingivitis.
- Diseases. If you have an inflammatory disease, you’ll have a higher chance of getting gum disease.
- Bruxism. Clenching and grinding your teeth will damage your teeth and gums. This can also result in a gum problem.
Use the right oral care products.
Executing all of the steps in how to prevent periodontal disease will require the right products. They can seriously boost your efforts and give you a leg up in the fight.
What exactly are the right oral care and gum products that can help in your periodontal disease prevention efforts? Here’s a list of the essentials that you should have in your bathroom sink:
1. A high-quality toothbrush.
A good toothbrush is definitely one of the most vital gum care products that you should have. You should never just settle with the cheapest or first options you come across with if you want to improve your dental and gum health.
A choice toothbrush a key tool in reducing gum inflammation. With it, you can effectively remove plaque and debris from the surface of your teeth. This can then prevent excessive bacterial growth on your gum line. This makes it the most basic and vital item if you want to successfully prevent gum infection.
Which toothbrush should you get if you want to prevent gum disease? The best Sonicare toothbrush is highly recommended by experts for its ability to remove plaque effectively. Some units even have gum care features, so you can get more out of them.
If you prefer to use a manual toothbrush, make sure that the bristles are firm enough to remove plaque but also gentle enough on your gums. Gum injuries can also put you at risk of developing gum diseases, so you should avoid having them.
2. A good toothpaste.
A good toothpaste will help you clean the insides of your mouth effectively, so make sure to look for the best one for you. Most experts prefer fluoride toothpaste as they have several benefits but you can also get the special gum care variants should you wish to. These gum products for teeth will take care of both your pearly whites and gums, giving you an all-around oral care solution.
3. The best interdental cleaners.
There are so many nooks and crannies inside your mouth that toothbrushes can’t clean so interdental cleaners are also important to have. They also help stop gum disease because they can assist in balancing the microfauna inside your mouth.
4. The right mouthwash.
Using mouthwash can help further clean the insides of your mouth. This makes it a great addition to your efforts in the prevention of periodontal disease. Its cleaning agents can definitely help kill the bad bacteria that could be growing on your gums. It’s also very easy to use a mouthwash to prevent gum disease since all you really need to do is gargle with it.
Choosing gum disease prevention mouthwash isn’t that complicated so if you’re worried about this, you don’t have to be. Gum disease products in the form of rinses come in droves so you have lots of options available. You might just need to make a choice between alcohol vs non-alcohol mouthwash, though, as they both have their own merits.
Does Listerine help gingivitis? Studies say that yes, these products can help. Does Listerine cure gingivitis? This product isn’t made to treat ailments, so it might not be best to solely rely on Listerine for gum disease treatment.
5. A well-designed tongue scraper.
Not a lot of people use tongue scrapers but they can also help in periodontitis prevention because they can further clean the insides of your mouth.
What Should You Do If You Already Have Gingivitis?
If you’ve already been diagnosed with gingivitis, all is not lost. Being a mild case, there are still lots of things you can do to stop periodontal disease. To make things simpler for you, we’ve rounded up a few tricks in how to stop gum disease in 4 easy steps:
- Stop smoking. As mentioned above, smoking can worse gum inflammation and infection.
- Improve your oral hygiene. This will keep the condition from getting worse.
- Seek professional care. Experts will know how to treat your condition so make sure to see a dentist right away if you think you have gum disease.
- Commit to your treatment plan. You can’t just use products for gum disease if you already have gingivitis. Make sure to actually stick with the treatment plan your dentist has put you on for the best results.