Did you know that gum disease, also called gingivitis, is often a precursor for many other health conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease? It’s true. That’s why caring for your dental health can be the first line of defense in keeping your whole body healthy.
Gum disease is caused when the bacteria in plaque develops between your teeth and gums. When the bacteria continue to grow, the portion of your gums that surround the tooth can become inflamed.
If left untreated, this swelling can cause your gums and the supporting bone structure to weaken. This weakening can then lead to your gums permanently receding—or possibly result in tooth loss.
When you prevent gum disease, you give yourself the best head start to remain healthy.
So, how do you know if you have gum disease? Gum disease, or gingivitis, can exhibit a variety of symptoms.
- Red, swollen gums
- Bad breath
- Shifting teeth
- Receding gums
- Sensitive teeth
- Wiggly teeth
Fortunately, there are some simple, everyday things you can do on your own to prevent gum disease.
Gum Disease Prevention Tips
Brush your teeth. Brushing after every meal, or at least once in the morning and once at night, will go a long way toward keeping your teeth healthy. Regular brushing helps keep plaque at bay and removes food debris that can get stuck between your teeth and gums. While you’re brushing your teeth, be sure to also gently brush your tongue, gums, and even under your tongue and the roof of your mouth.
Floss daily. Flossing daily will help remove food particles and plaque that can build up between your teeth. Even the tiniest food particles left behind will cause bacteria to start growing the same day.
Use mouthwash. Rinsing with mouthwash can also help reduce plaque buildup and can remove some food particles that are loosely floating around.
Know your risk. Age, diet, smoking, and family genetics can increase your risk for gingivitis. If you may have an increased risk, you’ll want to be sure to visit your dentist more often.
See your dentist regularly. You should plan to visit your dentist every six months for a dental cleaning to maintain optimal dental health and prevent gum disease. Your dentist can inspect your teeth and gums, help catch any oral conditions early, and counsel you on the best ways to maintain your dental health.