Everyone knows it’s important to take care of your teeth. If you don’t take care of your teeth daily, you can be at risk for tooth decay and gum disease – not to mention the aftereffects of said oral issues. Yet with so many people aware of why their teeth are so important, an estimated 60 million Americans have periodontal disease.
What is periodontal disease?
Here’s another little-known fact: even if you take top notch care of your teeth, you can still have gum issues. As gum disease is typically painless, it can be very difficult for people to recognize the symptoms and detect the disease. Before discussing the effects and consequences of gum disease, let’s talk about what it actually is.
Gum disease is the term for what happens when plaque builds up beneath your gum line. It can cause infections in the bone and the gums, which eventually leads to tooth decay and severe gum disease. The first stage of progression into full-blown gum disease is gingivitis. Symptoms of gingivitis include tender, swollen, and inflamed gums that are red and prone to bleeding. It’s the earliest stage of gum disease overall, but since the bone and the tissue holding your teeth in isn’t damaged at this point, the damage is reversible.
Preventing gum disease and gingivitis
Instead of talking about the reversal of the damage gingivitis can cause, an ounce of prevention is a pound of cure which is to say that keeping your gums healthy can prevent the onset of gum disease in the first place. Diet is a serious indicator of the future of the health of your teeth but also of your gums. With that in mind, it’s an easy initiative to motivate you to adapt your diet to care for your teeth and gums appropriately. Foods that can enhance the health of your gums include apples, milk, ginger, leafy greens, and raw onions. Naturally, it’s important to stay away from sugar!
Keeping your gums healthy won’t add extra time to your oral hygiene routine. For the most part, the same rules apply. Brushing your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, flossing daily, and visiting your dentist at least every six months are very good ways to focus on keeping your teeth, gums, and overall oral health in top shape. Your other habits are important, too. Most people are aware that smoking is terrible for your health – your teeth and mouth included. Quitting smoking if you’re a regular smoker can surely help increase the quality of your gums. If your dentist has already caught signs of impending gingivitis, then it may be an option for you to try a therapeutic mouthwash to help eradicate the extra plaque, inflammation, and more.
If you’re experiencing symptoms of gingivitis or inflamed and swollen gums, it’s important to make an appointment with your dentist so they can take a look and help diagnose the condition.