Periodontal disease - also known as gum disease - progresses so slowly that you may not even know it is there. Without routine checkups, you may find yourself dealing with the advanced stages of the disease before you even notice.
Proper oral hygiene is always important for thriving teeth and gums. But is it enough to prevent gum disease?
Gum Disease: What Is It?
Gingivitis is gum disease in its most mild form. The gum tissue around the teeth may be irritated or even inflamed, but it can be treated with a visit to your dentist - and good oral hygiene. When gum disease advances, it turns into periodontitis.
Periodontitis is the official term for the gum infection that can damage soft tissues around your tooth, as well as lead to the destruction of your teeth’s supporting bone. The result? Your teeth begin to loosen without the support and can even fall out.
Gum disease typically begins with plaque that forms on your teeth. Starches and sugars are usually the culprits. As you bring them into your mouth, they come in contact with the bacteria that are living in there and a film of plaque makes a home over your teeth.
If plaque remains on your teeth, it can harden underneath your gums. This is what is known as tartar. And the longer the tartar is there - the more havoc it can wreak. While it can reappear quickly, plaque can often be removed with frequent brushing and flossing. Tartar, on the other hand, will require the attention of your dentist’s office.
Risk Factors for Gum Disease
Anyone may find themselves facing gum disease at some point in life. Though, certain people are more at risk than others, such as those who have the following factors:
- Lack of oral hygiene habits
- Diabetes, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Crohn's Disease
- Poor nutrition
- Drug use, smoking or chewing tobacco, vaping
- Dry mouth
- Over the age of 30
- Decreased immunity due to certain medical conditions
Even if you do not possess any of the risk factors for gum disease, you are still susceptible. This is why it is so vital to maintain proper oral hygiene and visit your dentist regularly.
Preventing Gum Disease
Whether you feel at risk or not, taking steps now to prevent gum disease can lead to a healthy mouth in the future.
Take Care of Your Oral Health at Home
Caring for your teeth daily means ridding your mouth of an overload of bacteria and plaque. This reduces the chance for tartar to start growing and it doesn’t provide ideal conditions for bacteria or plaque to grow.
At least twice each day, brush thoroughly, floss, and rinse your mouth with a mouthwash. Make each of these a part of your daily routine to ensure you reach all areas of your mouth.
Ditch Your Bad Habits
Whether it is eating too many unhealthy foods, carrying around some extra weight, smoking, vaping, or using recreational drugs - maybe it is time for a change. A healthy mouth comes from healthy habits. So, rid yourself of what can do your body harm and, in turn, reduce your risk of gum disease.
Visit Your Dentist Regularly
Visiting your dentist is ultimately the only way to receive a deep cleaning to prevent gum disease issues. In addition, your dental hygienist is a trained professional who can spot the early signs of gum disease. Scheduling your visit to the dentist every 6 months allows you to stay on top of your oral care -- and treat problems like gum disease before they progress.
Learn More About Preventing Gum Disease
If you are interested in learning more about gum disease - and how to prevent it - contact MD Smiles at 410-531-2690 . Our professional team is ready to provide you with a warm welcome and high-quality dental care from the moment you walk into our office.
Request an appointment online today!