Gum disease does not appear overnight. Bad habits practiced over a lengthy period of time will lead to the disintegration of healthy gums and threaten the solidity of your teeth. In order to prevent gum disease you have to understand exactly what it is, what it looks like, and what causes it.
Gum disease, often called periodontal disease or periodontitis, comes in several different forms. Early gum disease, known as gingivitis, is the mildest form of gum disease and often evidenced by swollen gums, but it is no less serious than the most advanced cases. If you have any of the following symptoms, you may be exhibiting signs of gum disease:
- Red gums
- Bleeding gums
- Gum recession
- Bad breath
- Mouth sores
- Loose teeth
While most of these symptoms sound painful, pain isn’t actually one of the first symptoms of gum disease. Keeping an eye on the health of your mouth is important so that you recognize when something is different or not right. Maintaining bi-annual visits to your dentist aid in this effort.
Gum disease will not go away on its own. In fact, when gum disease is permitted to spread and is not addressed, the tissue and bone that support your teeth will break down. The inflammation that is gum disease causes your gums to pull away from your teeth, creating the telltale “pockets” of gum disease that offer a home for bacteria to grow, and ultimately creating an environment where teeth become looser and then fall out.
Gum disease is not limited to the mouth alone. Because gum disease is an inflammatory disease, its presence is an indication that a person is at risk for other inflammatory health problems like cardiovascular disease, arthritis, and diabetes.
Reduce Your Chances of Developing Gum Disease
Gum disease is one of the most common oral health problems, affecting nearly half of adults over the age of 30, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But just because gum disease is common doesn’t mean it’s acceptable. Your gender, health, and habits can all impact whether or not you develop periodontitis.
Here are five ways to help prevent gum disease:
1. Respect Your Odds
Pregnant women are at a higher risk of developing gingivitis – hormone changes, late-night snacking without brushing, vomiting, reflux, or an aversion to the scent and taste of toothpaste can all impact the oral health of a mother-to-be. Birth control and menopause can also cause gum changes and discomfort.
2. Know Your Health History
If you have a family history of gum disease, you’re more likely to develop this problem, which means you should be extra diligent about oral health care.
3. Manage Stress
Gum disease is a side effect of stress. We are all under strain of varying degrees from time to time, but it’s the ongoing, intense stress that can really mess with your oral health. Neglecting oral hygiene, grinding your teeth, altered saliva production, decreased immunity – all of these issues can occur because of stress, and they can all impact your oral health.
4. Take Care of Your Diabetes
Diabetics are at greater risk for dry mouth, and a mouth that is low on saliva production is a breeding ground for bacteria and plaque. Not only will this put you at greater risk for cavities, it can also cause gum disease to develop.
5. Don’t Use Tobacco Products
Don’t smoke. Don’t chew tobacco. Stay away from this awful substance that can cause gum disease, yes, but also cancer, including cancer of the mouth.
No matter who you are, brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss once every day. Visit your dentist twice a year for a dental exam and professional cleaning. Your dentist is adept at spotting gum disease symptoms far before you notice any problems or have complaints or discomfort. Maintaining good oral health habits and making your teeth and gums a priority can save you from pain and suffering in the future.
If you have concerns about any oral health issues, consult your holistic dentist, Dr. Yolanda Cintron, at the International Center for Dental Excellence in Fort Lauderdale. Make an appointment today to discuss your oral health.