If you’re suffering from gum disease, you’re not alone. In fact, according to the American Dental Association (ADA), almost 50% of Americans over the age of 30 have periodontal disease in various stages. In its early stages known as gingivitis, the infection can actually be reversed if caught early enough. If you notice your gums are bleeding or look swollen and red, it’s likely gingivitis. Beginning treatment as soon as possible is critical to stop the infection in its tracks. But, how do we improve gum health? Fortunately, periodontal disease can be avoided altogether (and improved) by practicing preventive dentistry.
What Is Preventive Dentistry?
Preventive dentistry includes excellent oral hygiene, regular visits to your dentist, and maintaining a healthy diet. All of these factors play a huge part in maintaining and optimizing your oral health – especially the health of your gums.
Practicing Excellent Oral Hygiene
How often do you brush your teeth? Your answer should be at least two times each day. For most people this includes brushing when they wake up in the morning and before bed each night. Since tooth brushing is a home-taught practice, it’s often done incorrectly and can result in poor oral health. Proper techniques include brushing for an entire two minutes, using a soft-bristle brush (less abrasive on your gum tissue and teeth), and covering all surfaces of your teeth (outer, inner, and chewing surfaces).
The other half of your oral hygiene involves flossing. While many people cut corners when it comes to flossing, it’s not recommended and will likely result in an infection in the future if your gums aren’t properly taken care of. The bacteria between your teeth has direct access to your gum tissue, leaving it there for too long can easily lead to infection. If you floss at least once per day, you’re on the right track!
Visiting Your Dentist
Typically, your dentist visits should be six months apart so you’ll have your teeth professionally cleaned and checked biannually. However, in some cases, your dentist may recommend that you visit more often – especially if you’re prone to bacteria.
If you’re noticing your gum tissue becoming more tender, bacteria may be causing the early stages of an infection – don’t hesitate to visit your dentist! The earlier you can catch the infection, the easier it is to treat.