Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss among adults because many people don’t realize they have the disease until the damage has been done. The symptoms can start out mild and progress quickly, when left untreated. Here’s what you need to know about how to prevent gum disease.
Signs of Gum Disease
Gum disease—also known as periodontitis or periodontal disease—often occurs as a result of poor oral hygiene habits and a lack of maintenance, although certain medications and ill health can be contributing factors as well. The signs of gum disease include:
- Red or purple gums. This change in colour is usually the first sign of gum disease. Your gums may also appear swollen.
- Bleeding. Your gums are likely to bleed when you floss and brush, but they may also bleed at even the slightest touch or pressure.
- Dark brown or black build-up. You’ll notice this at the gum margins. This is a sign of bacterial infection.
- Bad breath. While you may not notice your own bad breath, you’ll experience a foul taste and possible discharge from the infected areas.
- Gum recession. Pockets will form between your gums and the roots of your teeth and your gums will recede, making your teeth appear longer.
- Loose teeth. As the gums recede, your teeth no longer have the support needed to hold them in place. Your teeth may become loose, shift in your mouth, or even fall out.
How to Prevent Gum Disease
The two most important steps you can take to prevent gum disease are to be diligent with your home oral hygiene habits and visit the hygienist twice a year. A dental visit is a must at least once a year.
By doing your part to remove plaque and food particles from your teeth at home, you will go a long way towards preventing gum disease. Brush your teeth for two minutes, twice a day, and be sure to do a thorough job—brush the front of each tooth, the back, and the chewing surfaces. Floss at least once a day, which removes plaque from between your teeth, where toothbrushes can’t reach. When you floss, reach all the way down to the gum line.
Even with fantastic oral hygiene habits, the plaque on your teeth can harden into a substance called tartar, which contributes to gum disease. Tartar can only be removed with professional teeth cleaning, which is why biannual dental visits are the second line of defense against periodontitis. Regular visits also allow us to catch any potential signs of gum disease while it’s in its earliest stages and can be reversed.
Quitting smoking, staying well-hydrated, eating a balanced diet, and making sure your dental restorations fit properly and are structurally sound are also important factors in preventing gum disease.
Gum Disease Treatment
If you have active gum disease, the good news is that it can be reversed in its early stages with a deep cleaning. Even if gum disease has damaged your teeth and gums, there are procedures available that can repair this damage and restore your smile. View our gum disease case study to see the results of our gum disease treatments.
Schedule an Appointment at Caring 4 Smiles
Do you suspect that you may have gum disease? Has it been a while since your last dental appointment? We welcome you to our dental practice! Contact us today at 09 631 5416 to make an appointment or book online from our website.