Gum disease is a common issue that affects nearly half of the adult population in the United States. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, two out of five American adults have some form of gum disease. Prevention and early treatment are the best weapons against gum disease, which can lead to tooth loss when left untreated.
At Scott Young, DDS, our dentists and dental team offer general and cosmetic dentistry services at our office in The Woodlands, Texas.
4 ways to prevent gingivitis
Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease. Fortunately, if it is treated early, it usually doesn’t result in permanent damage to your teeth and gums. Some people may have a higher risk of developing gingivitis and more advanced forms of gum disease due to medical issues, family history, and genetics, but many of the factors causing gingivitis are within your control.
Here are four ways to prevent gingivitis before it starts:
1. Practice good oral hygiene
Brushing and flossing are your best tools against gingivitis. Plaque and tartar buildup cause gum inflammation and increase your risk of infection and advanced gum disease (periodontitis). Brushing after meals and flossing at least once a day helps remove food particles and bacteria before they can harden into plaque.
2. Schedule regular dental exams and cleanings
In addition to brushing and flossing, regular dental cleanings are necessary to remove buildup and prevent gum disease and tooth decay. Our dentists recommend scheduling an appointment for a checkup and dental cleaning every six months, but some people may require more or less frequent visits depending on their situation.
3. Avoid tobacco
Smoking isn’t just bad for your health, it’s also bad for your teeth and gums. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), smokers have twice the risk of developing gum disease as non-smokers. Smoking in all forms, including chewing tobacco and vaping, also weakens your immune system and makes it harder for your gums to heal.
4. Drink more water
Drinking plenty of water prevents dry mouth and helps to clear away sugar, bacteria, and food particles. It’s especially important if you drink soda and other food and drinks with a high sugar content.
Signs and symptoms of gingivitis
The most common sign of gingivitis is red, swollen gums that bleed when you brush your teeth. You may also experience bad breath and tooth sensitivity. If it’s been more than six months to a year since your last appointment, or you notice any changes to your gums, schedule an appointment for a checkup as soon as possible.
Preventing gingivitis or treating it early when it develops is the best way to protect your teeth and gums from developing advanced gum disease and other oral health problems.
For more information about gum disease prevention and treatment, contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our dentists at our office in The Woodlands, Texas.