Approximately 96% of Americans have cavities or dental caries, and many of those remain undiagnosed or untreated. Bacteria favor the young and old alike, preying on anyone with poor dental habits and a penchant for sugars or acids in their diet. But while decay is a serious concern, gum disease is far more alarming and difficult to control. At least 47% of Americans have some form of moderate-to-severe gum disease. The mouth is the perfect breeding spot for harmful bacteria, and they’ll attack, feed and thrive on any surface they can find–which include gum tissue. Gum disease contains three stages beginning with gingivitis which is easily treated with proper oral health habits. However, the disease spreads quickly when it’s ignored. And by the time it reaches the advanced stage known as periodontitis, surgery may be required to save any remaining teeth. Fortunately, there are some simple steps to help prevent gum disease.
Improve Your Oral Health Habits
It’s never too late to improve your oral health. Brush twice a day using a soft manual toothbrush or an electric toothbrush. After breakfast and before bed are eas
y times to remember. Incorporate apps and get the entire family involved as a fun challenge. And be sure to floss once every day to remove plaque between the teeth and reduce gum inflammation.
You don’t need to go on extreme diets, give up all your favorite treats, or opt to become a vegan or vegetarian to prevent gum disease. But improving your diet can go a long way towards obtaining better oral health. Make healthier choices such as whole grains instead of white flour items. Limit refined sugar and replace a good amount of bagged or boxed treats with fresh fruit and vegetables. Also, increase your water intake. Adding berries or a little lemon juice can give it a punch if you need a bit of flavor.
Smokers beware. Smoking weakens the immune system and those who smoke are twice as likely to develop gum disease as those who don’t. Gum disease risks also increase based on the number of cigarettes smoked daily and how long you’ve had the habit. If you’ve needed another reason to quit, maybe the risk of losing your teeth and developing oral cancer or cardiovascular disease due to advanced gum disease may be enough to try again.
Pay Attention to the Signs
Most people can tell if they’re developing a cold or virus based on the changes in their body and energy levels. The same can be said for dental concerns such as gum disease. Pay attention to the signs. Changes in gum tissue such as inflammation, redness, and soreness can indicate gingivitis which can be easily reversed. Bleeding gums during brushing or flossing may be more than simply brushing too hard. And abscess-like infections can indicate advanced stages of the disease.
Schedule Regular Visits with Your Moorestown Dentist
Be sure to schedule annual or bi-annual visits with your Moorestown Dentist. Regardless of how clean you think your teeth are, nasty plaque and bacteria can be lurking between your teeth and inside gum tissue. An annual cleaning can keep those critters under control and further examination can catch the earliest stages of gum disease and other potential dental issues commonly missed so they can be easily treated and reversed.