Gum disease is an oral infection found in and around the gum tissues that surround the teeth. It is also known as periodontal disease, which is one of the major leading causes of dental decay in adults. Gum disease is characterized by a sticky film buildup of bacteria that forms on the teeth, also known as plaque. A buildup of plaque creates various adverse conditions that lead to many dental issues. The precursor to gum disease is a condition known as gingivitis, which is a completely reversible stage. Extreme cases of gum disease are called periodontitis. Some of the signs that gum disease could be present are: gums that are tender or swollen, gums that pull away from the teeth, bleeding gums, bad breath, the taste of infection in the mouth, loose or separating teeth, and a change or shift in your oral bite. Luckily, gum disease is a very preventable condition. Follow these daily oral hygiene tips to significantly decrease your chances of developing gum disease.
- Brush Your Teeth– Teeth should be brushed twice daily. Make sure you’re reaching all of the areas within your mouth. Make circular motions with your brush at a 45 degree angle while brushing gently along the gum line. Do not brush too hard, as this can do more harm than actual benefit. And don’t forget to brush all of the sides of your teeth, along with your tongue.
- Floss Daily– To properly floss your teeth, you will need roughly 18 inches of floss. Wind the floss round a finger on each hand, usually the pointers, or middle fingers. Hold the floss between the forefinger and the thumb; gently glide the floss in between the teeth, sliding it in and around the spaces of the teeth, and gum line. Rotate the floss up and down until it becomes clean and clear. It’s important to floss between all of your teeth, especially the ones in the back that can be very difficult to reach. The teeth in the back are usually the most in need of a good flossing, as they are used mostly for chewing and breaking down food. As you floss, wrap the used portion along the finger, unwrapping more as you go along for continued use.
- Mouthwash– Use mouthwash twice daily, after you finish brushing and flossing. Sip about half of a capful into your mouth, and squish it around for about 30 seconds. Be careful not to swallow it! After 30 seconds, spit the mouthwash out into the sink. Rinsing with mouthwash will help to further clean the inside of your mouth, and in between your teeth.
- Consume a Health Diet– Bacteria within the mouth will thrive with sugary and starchy foods. These types of foods inhibit just enough growth for plaque, so try to avoid consuming foods and drinks that contain large amounts of either. If they are consumed, then it is important to promptly brush them thoroughly to help eliminate the chance of plaque buildup.
If you suspect that you might have gum disease, or if gum disease is in your dental history, schedule a visit with your dentist. They can monitor the status or progression of the condition, and help to improve the overall health of your mouth. Everyone should have dental cleanings and examination twice per year, and perhaps even more often depending on the current dental health of your mouth. To schedule an appointment with us, please call today!