What is gum disease? You may have heard it called by other names such as gingivitis or periodontal disease. There are varying degrees of severity when determining what is gum disease, but most infections found in the gums will be considered some form of gum disease no matter how small or advanced the case may be. How can you tell if you have gum disease? Gum disease typically starts off as gingivitis, with symptoms as mild as bleeding gums while brushing and slight discomfort (or no discomfort at all). In its more advanced stages, it can become what is known as periodontitis. Symptoms of periodontitis include: inflammation, swollen gums, tenderness, spaces developing between teeth, pus buildup, bad breath, loose teeth, severe bleeding gums, gum recession, and periodontal pockets. Periodontitis can also cause necrosis of the gums, teeth and bones if left untreated, this is the process by which gum, tooth and bone matter begin to rot away. These symptoms are generally a sure way to tell if you have gum disease. How can you prevent gum disease? Here are 5 tips!
1. Brush your Teeth
Perhaps the most simple, tried & true method for preventing gum disease is to practice proper brushing. The minimum amount of times you should be brushing daily is twice; though one of the most widely recognized schools of thought is that you should brush after each meal. Both methods will significantly reduce your chances of getting gum disease. Also, make sure you are using the proper technique when brushing, and replacing your toothbrush as needed. Proper technique has far less impact if your toothbrush bristles are worn out.
2. Flossing is Important
Regular flossing is often overlooked in the hierarchy of importance when practicing proper dental care; however, it is one of the most important. Your toothbrush can only do so much to remove plaque. Floss reaches deeper into the crevices of your teeth and gums than your toothbrush can. This will help to remove plaque that has been missed after brushing. This is why flossing is vital in the prevention of gum disease.
3. Rinse with Mouthwash
Once flossing is complete, take your oral care one step further by rinsing with a mouthwash. Mouthwash works on a microscopic scale, reaching areas of your teeth and gums that brushing and flossing cannot. This final step will help ensure that your mouth is free and clear of the harmful bacteria that cause gum disease.
4. Watch your Oral Fixations
Acidic & sugary foods and tobacco are things many people enjoy a little too much from time to time. Smoking tobacco is a primary contributor to gum disease because it decreases circulation in the gums. This prevents your immune system from keeping your gums healthy. Beware that smokeless tobacco can also lead to gum disease and/or periodontitis. Lastly, sugary and acidic foods like coffee, soda, and candy are some of the most prominent contributors to gum disease as well.
5. See a Periodontist in Staten Island or Port Washington, NY
A periodontist is an expert in the field of gum disease treatment. You should schedule regular checkups with a periodontist every 6 months. If you feel you may have any of the symptoms associated with gum disease, you should see a periodontist right away. Schedule an appointment with our dental office in Staten Island or Port Washington, NY here or call us at (718) 489-3945 to schedule an appointment today!