What is gum disease?
Gum disease, or periodontitis, is a gum infection that causes damage to the soft tissue of the gums. If the condition progresses, it can lead to tooth loss. Fortunately, gum disease is both preventable and treatable.
What causes gum disease?
Periodontitis is caused by poor oral hygiene habits; if you don’t brush and floss your teeth regularly, you may be at risk of developing gum disease. In addition, when you don’t brush your teeth regularly, bacteria and plaque build up on the teeth, which can eventually cause disease. Symptoms of periodontitis include receding gums, bad breath, swollen or red gums, painful chewing, or sensitive teeth.
How can you reduce your risk?
Luckily there are lots of things that you can do to reduce your risk.
1 . Brushing & flossing
Brushing and flossing your teeth will eliminate bacteria and prevent plaque from building up. When you brush your teeth, ensure to brush gently (brushing too hard can cause gum recession). Choose your toothbrush carefully; electric toothbrushes are generally better at removing plaque.
2. Dental visits
It’s essential to visit your dentist at least every six months. Your dentist will be able to check your mouth for signs of gum disease and offer preventative treatments. Skipping your dental appointments is never a good idea. Some people don’t have any noticeable signs in the early stages, so the problem goes undetected. If you visit your dentist, they can look out for these early signs and offer support.
3. The right diet
To reduce your risk, it’s worth thinking about your diet. Sugary foods can damage the teeth and increase your risk of oral health problems. To support your oral health, eat plenty of calcium-rich foods and nutritious vegetables.
If you’re looking for natural remedies to freshen your breath, you can try tea tree oil, apple cider vinegar, or saltwater. But, of course, you should already have most of these ingredients in your cupboards!
In the early stages of periodontitis, your dentist will be able to offer lots of preventative treatments. For example, they can provide professional cleaning to remove plaque or scaling and root planing.
When it becomes more serious, a few surgical options are available, including soft tissue grafts. If your experiencing tooth loss, your dentist can provide dental implants to improve your smile and support the health of your mouth and jaw. If you are concerned about gum disease, it’s best to discuss this with your dentist. They will be able to answer any questions or concerns.
Protecting your oral health
Practicing good oral hygiene is the best way to protect yourself from gum disease. In the later stages, several treatment options can help you to improve the look of your teeth. With the proper steps, you’ll reduce your risk and stay healthy as you age.