Everyone knows they should brush their teeth regularly, but how many of us take equal care of our gums? Gum disease is a common condition caused by the build up of plaque between gums and teeth. If left untreated, it can cause gum recession, bone damage, and even tooth loss. Researchers have also linked gum disease to serious conditions beyond the mouth, including heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and respiratory illness, making early diagnosis and treatment more important than ever. You can keep your gums in mint condition by following these simple steps:
- Maintain good oral hygiene – Brushing your teeth twice a day (including the gum line) helps remove food debris and plaque trapped between your teeth and gums. Don’t forget to brush your tongue too, it’s a favourite place for bacteria to hide. Flossing regularly helps to remove the particles that your toothbrush can’t reach, and using mouthwash afterwards can swish out anything that flossing and brushing missed.
- Take your vitamins – Studies have shown that a daily dose (100-200 milligrams) of vitamin C can help keep bleeding gums in check. And data from 6,700 people who took the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey showed that those with the highest level of vitamin D were 20% less likely to suffer from gingivitis (possibly because of the vitamin’s anti-inflammatory qualities).
- Know your risk factor – Are you a smoker? Do you have diabetes? Do you suffer from stress or have a weakened immune system? Do other members of your family have gum disease? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be at a higher risk of developing gum disease. At Exeter Advanced Dentistry, your dentist will review your oral health at your examination appointment and is likely to suggest you visit our hygienist if any of these factors apply to you.
- Identify early signs of gum disease – Do your gums bleed when you floss? Do you have bad breath? Are your gums swollen, red, or tender? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, you may be suffering from gingivitis. Recognizing these symptoms is important because if you do not treat gingivitis early it can develop into periodontitis – the advanced form of gum disease that may cause tooth loss.
- Visit your dental hygienist – Regular visits to your dental hygienist are vital for identifying and preventing gum disease. At Exeter Advanced Dentistry, our hygienist can show you the most effective brushing techniques and help you establish a comprehensive oral routine. During your visit, our hygienist will carry out a deep clean of your teeth to remove hardened plaque (tartar) that cannot be removed through brushing alone. We’ll also show you techniques you can use to prevent plaque building up in the future. You can learn more about oral health treatment on our website.
Take your first steps in gum disease prevention by making a hygienist appointment at Exeter Advanced Dentistry today.