If you’ve ever seen commercials for toothpaste, mouthwash, or other oral health products they probably made it pretty clear that they can fight gum disease. It’s a pretty common thing to talk about when it comes to oral health – after all, it sounds pretty scary.
But what is gum disease? At Really Smile Dentistry we think it’s incredibly important that you know what it is and how to fight it. Since February is national gum disease awareness month what better time to talk about it than now?
What Is Gum Disease?
You know that sticky film that’s on your teeth at the end of the day? That’s plaque, and it’s made up of countless oral bacteria. That bacteria is responsible for tooth decay and gum disease. The longer it stays there and the more of it there is the higher your chances of developing it.
When that bacteria gets under your gumline it creates an infection that your body reacts to in the only way it knows: inflammation. The inflammation response funnels white blood cells and other antibodies to the site of the infection with the aim of fighting it off. In most cases this works, but not in your mouth.
Because the inflammation can never resolve you end up with serious damage to your gums and eventual tooth loss when your mouth can’t support your teeth anymore. It’s a horrible condition that, thankfully, is easy to fight against. Making good choices and following some straightforward guidelines can do a lot to keep your mouth safe!
Practice Good Oral Hygiene
The leading cause of gum disease is poor oral hygiene. Even if you brush twice a day there is a lot to be said for brushing properly. Poor technique, short brushing times, and other bad habits can make brushing really ineffective.
To get the best results from your brushing there are a few things you need to do:
- Use a soft bristled brush. Hard ones damage your teeth and gums.
- Don’t brush too hard – that can hurt your teeth and gums too, as well as bending the bristles over and making them less effective.
- Brush twice a day for at least two minutes.
- When brushing be sure to hold the brush at a 45 degree angle to your gums. This helps push plaque away from your teeth and cover the whole surface of a tooth.
- Use short, tooth-wide strokes.
- Make sure to spend just as much time on the backs and tops of your teeth as you do on the front.
Don’t forget to floss either! It’s essential that you floss every day in order to remove plaque built up between your teeth. If you’ve ever missed a regular toothbrushing time you know how gross your mouth feels. If you brush but don’t floss that same gunk never gets out from between your teeth!
Kick Those Bad Habits
Sometimes our lifestyles can lead to health problems, and that includes oral health problems. There are several lifestyle choices and habits you might do that could be greatly increasing your risks of contracting gum disease.
- Smoking is a common factor in patients with severe gum disease. If you’re a smoker now is the time to quit!
- Excessive alcohol consumption leads to tooth erosion that can cause decay as well as damaging soft tissue. Gums that are compromised can become infected much easier!
- Poor dietary choices don’t just affect your bodily health – they have a high impact on your chances of getting gum disease too! Whether it’s poor nutrition leading to imbalances in your mouth or an excess of sugar, the damage your diet can do is severe.
- Some medications that you take can have an affect on the health of your teeth and gums. If you take those medications be extra cautions about your oral hygiene habits. They need to be extra thorough to offset the risks.
See Us At Really Smile Dentistry
All the good home care habits and lifestyle changes in the world may not be enough to prevent gum disease. Over two thirds of adults end up with some stage of it in their lifetimes, making it an incredibly common condition.
Regular preventive dental care checkups at our Carmel office is just as important as good brushing and flossing habits. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been away for years: we want to see you so we can keep your teeth healthy!
Make an appointment today by calling us at 317-451-4050 or request one by filling out our online form. We look forward to seeing you soon!