Gum disease is without a doubt one of the most widespread oral health problems affecting Americans today. In fact, the American Dental Association estimates that nearly half of adults over 30 in the US suffer from some form of the condition. If you’re wondering how gum disease is so common for something you don’t hear too much about, it’s because often, the symptoms are so slight that many adults don’t realize they have a problem. That’s a really serious issue for them — advanced stages of gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, can cause serious health conditions down the line, like diabetes, heart disease and eventual tooth loss.
There is some good news, though. Gum disease can be prevented pretty easily — it just takes excellent dental care and a commitment to your oral health. Incorporating the following four steps into your lifestyle will go a long way to ensuring you’re preventing gum disease now, and for life.
1: Brush ‘em
Ok, you know brushing is important. But sometimes you’re really in a hurry! And it’s really late! You’ve got to quit cutting corners on this cornerstone of good dental health — brushing thoroughly, for two minutes, twice a day, is absolutely crucial to mouth’s health. Poor brushing plays a big role in the buildup of bacteria that leads to gum disease and tooth decay, so start brushing up on your brushing habits today. Use a timer to ensure you’re putting in the full two minutes, brushing each quadrant of your mouth (softly!) for 30 seconds each.
2: Don’t forget to floss
For some reason, a lot of adults think flossing is an option — a bonus for extra-good care. We’re here to remind you that’s not true. Everyone needs to floss at least once a day to make sure any leftover food particles or bacteria are removed from between teeth. Your toothbrush can’t get everything, no matter how well you’re brushing. Floss with about 18 inches of floss, working your way up and around each tooth, curving floss to reach under the gumline. Use a new part of the floss for each tooth to avoid reintroducing bacteria throughout the mouth.
3: Don’t smoke
As if you needed another reason to quit, smoking is a significant contributor to periodontal disease.The habit weakens the immune system, making it harder for your body to fight off the bacteria that causes gum infections — and once your gums are damaged, smoking makes it harder for them to heal. Tobacco in any form, cigarettes, pipes and chewing tobacco, all raise your risk of contracting gum disease.
4: Come see us!
Make sure your teeth are staying healthy with a dental exam every six months. Sometimes you may think you don’t need one, but this twice-annual visit is a necessary step to ensuring your gums aren’t exhibiting the early warning signs of gum disease — like recession, or pulling away from the teeth. It’s also your dentist’s chance to spot any small cavities or other signs of decay, helping you to stop them early, when they’re easiest to fix. If more than six months have passed since your last dental exam, don’t wait — schedule your appointment with our office. Gum disease is highly preventable, so make sure you’re doing your best by brushing, flossing and visiting your Glendale, AZ dentist today!