How to Prevent Gum Disease

Gum Disease Treatment Dentists Ann Arbor MIWhen you think of your smile, your teeth probably come to mind first. Of course, your teeth are important but let’s not forget about what’s helping to hold them in place: your gums. Our Ann Arbor, MI, dentists can help keep gum disease at bay with in-office care but it’s also up to you to prioritize your oral health at home.

Here are 5 ways you can prevent gum disease.

The Stages of Gum Disease

Before a gum infection progresses into a more serious gum disease, it is largely reversible and preventable with proper oral care. The earliest stage that an individual can experience is gingivitis.

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Gingivitis is marked by inflamed or red gums that bleed after brushing and are tender to the touch. The onset of this condition is due to plaque buildup at the gum line. If ignored, gingivitis will become periodontitis which is a chronic and long-term condition. Periodontitis can lead to destroyed gum and bone tissue, severely loose teeth, and even tooth loss.

Common warning signs of gum disease include:

  • Red or swollen gums
  • Receding gums
  • Gums that bleed after brushing or flossing
  • Loose teeth
  • Bad breath

To Maintain Optimal Gum Health, You Should:

1. Brush and Floss Every Day

You’ve probably heard this piece of advice many times over by now. Well, there is a reason why both brushing and flossing are first on this list: they work. Brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing daily reduces the amount of food particles and plaque trapped in your teeth.

For healthy teeth and gums, our dentists recommend you try:

  • Using an electric toothbrush over a manual version
  • Choosing fluoride toothpaste
  • Brushing your teeth for at least 2 minutes at a time
  • Placing your brush at a 45-degree angle to your teeth so gums are also cleaned

2. Find a Quality Mouthwash

There are an array of mouthwash types and brands out there for consumers to choose from. Knowing which ones are better than others can positively impact your oral health now and in the future.

If you see a seal from the American Dental Association (ADA) on the front of the bottle, you know you’ve found a good mouthwash. This seal of approval means that the ADA has deemed the mouthwash effective and safe to use.

Remember that a rinse should not replace brushing or flossing though it is a great way to further prevent plaque buildup.

3. Give Up Smoking Habit (Plus Other Forms of Tobacco)

There is significant evidence that shows that the use of cigarettes and other products containing tobacco is harmful. Not only is it bad for your overall health, but smoking is directly linked to the development of gum disease.

According to the CDC, smoking weakens your immune system which means your body has trouble fighting off a gum infection. In addition, your gums are not able to heal as quickly after being damaged. Our advice: quit smoking and any use of other tobacco products.

4. Remember to Schedule Regular Cleanings

Visiting our Ann Arbor, MI, dental office for a teeth cleaning every 6 months or as often as directed is important for multiple reasons. For one, these checkup appointments allow for our dentists to catch any possible issues and advise on proper brushing or flossing techniques. They also provide your teeth with a professional cleaning that can’t be accomplished at home.

5. Watch What You Eat

That’s right, preventing gum disease isn’t entirely dependent on your oral hygiene habits. It also involves keeping tabs on what you eat on a daily basis. Try consuming a variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, protein, and whole grains. Foods containing vitamin C and vitamin D have also been shown to help bleeding gums and offer anti-inflammatory benefits.

Sugary foods do not have to be avoided entirely but they should be consumed in moderation and followed up by brushing and flossing at the end of the day.

Take Care of Your Smile

Our dentists in Ann Arbor, MI, believe that every patient deserves a healthy smile for life. In order for that to be your reality, however, you need to prioritize your oral health so you can more easily avoid complications like gum disease. Put your smile first and call Liberty Dental at (734) 994-0909 today to request an appointment.

This blog post has been updated.

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