Did you know that of all Americans over 30 years old have periodontal disease? Periodontal disease (also known as gum disease) occurs when your gums suffer from inflammation or infection. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 47.2% of U.S. adults over 30 have some form of periodontal disease, whether it’s something treatable (like gingivitis) or something more advanced and irreversible.
Gum disease may be common in the U.S., but that doesn’t make it unavoidable. There are three easy steps you can take to prevent gum disease:
- Brush your teeth twice a day
- Floss daily
- Schedule regular teeth cleanings
1. Brush Your Teeth Twice a Day
It may feel like common sense at this point, but brushing your teeth twice a day is still a key practice in preventing not only gum disease, but also other forms of tooth decay.
Gum disease occurs when plaque and tartar build up on your teeth. Plaque is a that often forms on your teeth overnight and can easily be removed by brushing your teeth. However, if plaque builds up, it can turn into tartar, a harder substance that’s much more difficult to get rid of.
By brushing your teeth twice a day, you can do your part to prevent plaque buildup and keep your teeth and your gums healthy.
2. Floss Daily
Although many people have practiced brushing twice a day since they were children, not everyone has gotten into the habit of flossing daily. Flossing isn’t an optional practice — it’s just as essential to your oral health as brushing. In fact, it’s particularly important for the health of your gums.
The reason is because plaque and tartar can build up between your teeth or in parts that your toothbrush simply can’t reach. Flossing daily gives your mouth a thorough at-home clean and ensures you’re giving your teeth and gums the best protection they can get against gum disease and tooth decay — at least, the best protection outside of a dentist’s chair.
3. Schedule Regular Teeth Cleanings
If you’re brushing and flossing regularly, and you feel fine, do you still have to schedule a teeth cleaning every six months? Yes.
Gum disease is progressive — you don’t just wake up one morning with advanced periodontal disease, for which there is no cure. That means having a regular check-up is crucial to catching any signs of gum disease early, when it’s still treatable.
There’s also the fact that tartar can only be removed completely from your teeth by a dental professional. Because it’s such a hard substance, at-home care is usually not sufficient to remove it entirely. Regular appointments ensure that our dentists have a chance to remove any existing plaque or tartar before they build up and cause gum disease.
What If I Already Have Advanced Periodontal Disease?
Advanced periodontal disease can’t be reversed or cured, but it can be managed. Our dentists offer scaling and root planing for patients dealing with advanced gum disease.
Scaling and root planing means our dentists will remove tartar from above and below the gums and smooth out the exposed tooth root. This will allow your receding gums a chance to reattach to your teeth.
We’ll also measure your gum pockets. If you suffer from periodontal disease, you likely have deep pockets in your gums near your teeth that can hold onto plaque and tartar. Scaling and root planing often helps reduce the size of those pockets.
Schedule a Teeth Cleaning Today
We hope you’ll follow these three tips to fight gum disease, but we also hope you know you’re not in this fight alone. Our Wyoming, MI, dentists can help you prevent or treat existing gum disease. Call Family Dentistry at (616) 534-5602 to schedule an appointment today, or contact us online.