A study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that just over 47 percent of adult Americans suffer from periodontal disease. This chronic inflammatory disease attacks the tissue and bone surrounding the teeth, and can eventually cause the teeth to fall out if left untreated. The best way to prevent periodontal disease and its predecessor gingivitis is to take good care of your teeth and gums.
- Brush Your Teeth
You may brush your teeth and floss occasionally; however, you may be at an increased risk for gum disease if you fail to follow a rigorous oral hygiene routine on a consistent basis. This includes brushing your teeth for two minutes at least two times each day. Make sure that when you brush, you cover your gum line as well as your teeth. If you notice blood on your toothbrush or in your mouth after brushing, you may already have the beginning stages of gum disease.
- Floss Every Day
It is not enough to floss your teeth occasionally. As you eat, food particles become trapped between your teeth. In some cases, brushing does not remove all of these particles. These trapped pieces of food can attract bacteria, which can eventually turn into hardened plaque along your gumline. Plaque that remains on the gums for a period of time can cause the tissue surrounding the tooth to pull away, creating little pouches for bacteria to grow.
- Use Mouthwash Regularly
After flossing, it is a good idea to rinse your mouth with a good mouthwash. Not only will rinsing your mouth clear out any remaining particles, it works to kill bacteria lingering on your gum tissue or other surfaces of your mouth. Make sure that you don’t use a mouthwash formulated to simply freshen your breath. An oxygenating mouthwash will clean your entire mouth and your breath.
- Replace Your Toothbrush
Toothbrushes with worn out bristles may actually injure your teeth. Be sure to replace your toothbrush every three to four months as directed by your dentist.
- See Your Dentist Regularly
People who see their dentist twice a year may be able to avoid advanced-stage periodontal disease. In most cases, your dentist will be able to clean out any bacteria surrounding the gum line, and give you a fresh start. Tell your dentist if you have any health conditions or are pregnant, as it may increase your risk for developing gum disease.
- Avoid Smoking
Smokers are four times more likely to develop gum disease. The compounds found in cigarettes encourage the buildup of plaque and tarter around the gum line.
It’s never too late to start caring for your gums and teeth. Not only will you improve your smile, but you’ll improve your health as well.