Enjoying Better Dental Checkups

Tips To Help Avoid Gum Disease

Did your dentist call you out on your gum health at your last dental appointment? It's not uncommon for people that think they have perfect teeth (because they have never experienced a cavity) to discover that while their teeth are healthy, their gums are in distress. In its early stages gum disease is known as gingivitis and it can be reversed. As it progresses into periodontal disease gum and bone loss, which can lead to infection and tooth loss, becomes a serious risk. The following tips can help you reverse early gingivitis or even avoid it completely.

Keep up with your hygiene appointments

First and foremost, you need to visit your dentist at least every six months for thorough dental treatment and a cleaning. If you don't currently have gum disease these cleanings alone may be sufficient for preventing gum disease. If you smoke or already have the beginnings of gingivitis then you may need to schedule more frequent cleanings. For smokers the reason is simple -- nicotine restricts healing in the mouth, which can make gum infection more likely. More frequent cleanings ensure that plaque doesn't get under the gum line, thus minimizing the risks of gum disease.

Floss every day

Many people dislike flossing but it is an excellent way to prevent gum disease or slow its progression. Gingivitis occurs when plaque forms beneath the gum line. This provides an opening for bacteria to get under the gums, which then leads to an infection that can eat away at both gums and bone. Flossing removes food residue at the gum line before it becomes plaque, reducing the chances of infection. If you hate flossing talk to your dentist about using a water pick or other similar device instead of floss. In some cases these devices can be nearly as effective.

Switch to an electric toothbrush

Many people use overly hard bristles or scrub too hard, which can damage gums and make matters worse. An electric toothbrush is a gentler and more thorough way to get your teeth and gumline clean without damage. If you prefer to stick with the manual version opt for those with soft bristles. When brushing use a gentle circular motion, angling the bristles toward the gum line. This helps remove the plaque building up along the gums without causing any damage.

Try plaque tablets

You can purchase a small bottle of tablets that will temporarily dye the plaque on your teeth. It disappears with brushing. The benefit of using these every week or two is that you can see what you are missing when you brush or floss, which allows you to change your technique so you can get cleaner teeth and experience less plaque buildup. The result is a lowered chance of gum disease.

Contact a dentist to discuss gum disease and its prevention further.