Have you noticed that your breath seems to be unpleasant on a regular basis? Do your gums bleed easily when you brush your teeth? If so, then you may be one of the 47 percent of Americans who suffer from some form of gum disease. Thankfully, you’re not doomed to just deal with this; there is help available for treating and preventing this disease. Learn some helpful strategies from your local dentist as you read on!
What is Gum (Periodontal) Disease?
Periodontal disease is the inflammation and infection of your gums that result in bleeding, puffiness, swelling and irritated tissue. It starts with bacteria growth that has been unchecked and has begun to cause havoc in your oral cavity.
Here are the three phases of the disease:
- Gingivitis – The first stage of gum disease is called gingivitis, which involves the initial signs of puffiness, slight bleeding when you brush and maybe bouts of bad breath. This is an important time to identify the issue and implement the changes in your oral hygiene that your dentist will recommend. That’s because this is the only time that the damage can be reversed.
- Moderate Gum Disease – If the disease is allowed to fester, it will cause permanent damage to your connective tissues and underlying bone. Your dentist may recommend antibiotic therapy and changes in your oral hygiene to restore you to a healthy state.
- Periodontitis – By the time you get to full-blown periodontitis, the bacteria growth has become more aggressive and you may even be suffering from tooth loss. This is due to the roots and connecting tissues beginning to dissolve from the abundance of acid present. For more severe situations, your dentist may suggest a scaling and root planing procedure that removes built-up plaque from beneath the gum line and cleans the roots of your teeth.
Better than just treating gum disease, though, is to take the proper steps to prevent the condition from manifesting.
Tips for Preventing Gum Disease
Preventing a problem from occurring is far better than treating it later, so keep these tips in mind:
- Increase Your Phosphorous Intake – The mineral, phosphorous, helps in preventing gum disease by remineralizing the enamel on your teeth, allowing it to better defend itself. You can find phosphorous in common foods like chicken, cheeses, meats, nuts and milk.
- Eat More Veggies – When you eat more vegetables, you help to fight gum disease by making your mouth more alkaline. Take note that the environment more conducive to bacteria growth is an acidic one.
- Anti-Microbial Mouthwash – Using an antimicrobial mouthwash twice a day, along with your normal toothbrushing and flossing habits, will prevent the growth of the bacteria that lead to gum disease. Be sure, though, to get the kind that is low in alcohol, so that you don’t end up with dry mouth – which is the perfect environment for bacteria to grow in.
- An Electric Toothbrush – Finally, you can consider changing your toothbrush. If you’ve been using a manual one, try out an electric option. Its motorized action will allow you to get into areas you may have previously been unable to, which translates into a cleaner mouth.
The Power of a Visit
One of the simplest ways to prevent gum disease is to visit your dentist on a regular basis for cleanings and checkups. These appointments will keep you informed about what’s going on with your oral health and if any problems are found, they can be addressed early on, before they manifest into oral nightmares.
So to schedule your first visit, reach out to your local professional today!
About the Author
Dr. Gary Sherman earned his dental degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine. He has since gone on to provide his patients with expert care for over 30 years. The health of your gums can be trusted in his capable hands when you visit him at Franklin Avenue Dental Care, and Dr. Sherman can be reached for more information through his website.