Combating Gum Disease: 5 Tips and Strategies for a Healthier Mouth

Keep gum disease away.

Did you know that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 47.2% of adults over age 30 have gum disease? If that isn’t alarming enough, it increases with age. Over 70% of adults over the age of 65 are battling periodontal disease.

When gum disease is left untreated, it can seriously affect not only your oral health but also your overall health. When gum disease progresses to severe stages, it can cause infection and even tooth loss. Protecting your smile and preventing tooth loss starts with taking care of your teeth and gums. In this article, we’ll give you five tips on how to do just that.

What is gum disease?

Gum, or periodontal disease, is an infection that targets the tissues anchoring your teeth in place. It usually stems from poor brushing and flossing, resulting in plaque, a sticky bacterial film, accumulating and solidifying on tooth surfaces. Initially, it manifests as swollen, red, and bleeding gums, indicating inflammation. 

Left unchecked, it can progress, attacking the bone supporting the gums, leading to discomfort while chewing. In severe cases, teeth may loosen or require extraction. And as we suggested above, it can lead to tooth loss. Prevention through proper oral hygiene is the only way to prevent gum disease and protect your smile.

Signs and Symptoms of Gum Disease

Healthy gums are sturdy in nature and are intended to hold your teeth firmly in place. When healthy, their color can vary from light pink to darker shades. However, when periodontitis sets in, the following signs may appear:

  • Swelling or puffiness in the gums
  • Gums that have become shades of bright red, dark red, or even dark purple
  • Tenderness upon touch
  • Gums prone to bleeding, especially during brushing or flossing, sometimes resulting in a pinkish toothbrush
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Presence of pus between teeth and gums
  • Teeth becoming loose or falling out
  • Discomfort while chewing
  • Development of new gaps between teeth, resembling black triangles
  • Receding gums, where gums pull away from teeth, making them appear longer
  • Alteration in dental alignment upon biting

5 Tips to Prevent Gum Disease

The great news is that gum disease can be prevented. If you catch it early, it is reversible. Here are some tips on how to prevent periodontitis and keep healthy gums.

  1. Daily oral hygiene: Be sure to brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes at a time. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. But brushing isn’t enough. Add flossing to your daily routine—floss at least once per day, preferably at bedtime after you are done eating for the day. Finally, rinse your mouth with a fluoride mouthwash to cleanse away particles and debris that have been loosened by brushing and flossing.
  2. Eat tooth-friendly foods: Most people know that sugar and starch are bad for their bodies. But the truth is that it’s bad for your teeth, too. Enjoy sweets and starches in moderation. Fill your diet with tooth-friendly foods, such as dairy products, leafy greens, carrots, celery, apples, lean protein, nuts, and black and green teas.
  3. Manage your stress: When we are stressed, we are more likely to clench and grind our teeth, especially when we are sleeping. This is called bruxism and causes the enamel of our teeth to wear away, leaving them more susceptible to tooth decay and infection. If you experience bruxism, ask your dentist near Lake Hefner about a nightguard. Also, take the necessary steps to reduce stressors in your life.
  4. Drink lots of water: Water is good for our body in so many ways. Not only does it hydrate our bodies to keep them running at optimal efficiency, but it helps to keep your mouth clean, too. When you drink water, it helps to rinse away bacteria that try to adhere to your teeth. Plus, water is free from sugar, which can cause tooth decay.
  5. Visit us every six months for a professional dental cleaning: Even if you are doing a great job with the four recommendations we shared already, there is nothing quite as effective at cleaning your teeth as what we can do when you’re sitting in the dental chair. We have the tools to remove stuck-on plaque and tartar. And, we can check on the health of your gums to make sure you’re free from gum disease.

Recommended lifestyle changes to prevent gum disease.

Making certain lifestyle adjustments can significantly reduce your risk of developing gum disease as well. First and foremost, quitting smoking is crucial, as tobacco use is a major risk factor for gum disease and impedes healing. Additionally, limiting alcohol consumption promotes oral health. Excessive alcohol intake can contribute to gum inflammation and other oral health issues.

Maintaining a healthy weight through regular physical activity is also integral in gum disease prevention. Obesity is linked to a higher prevalence of gum disease, so engaging in regular exercise can help manage weight and reduce this risk. 

Lake Pointe Dental Group can help you prevent gum disease.

Maintaining a healthy mouth and preventing gum disease is within reach with the right habits and proactive measures. By prioritizing consistent oral hygiene, making healthy lifestyle choices, and seeking professional guidance, you can safeguard your smile for years. 

Take the first step towards optimal oral health by contacting Lake Pointe Dental Group for a comprehensive oral health checkup and personalized advice on periodontal therapy. Our experienced team is here to support you on your journey to a healthier, happier smile. Book your appointment with a trusted dentist near Lake Hefner today!