4 Ways to Prevent Gum Disease

Dec 05, 2023
 4 Ways to Prevent Gum Disease
Gum disease is painful, but it’s also preventable. Learn more about how to prevent gum disease.

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is painful. It’s treatable but doing so is expensive and takes a lot of work. That’s one reason why regular dental exams are such an important part of preventative dentistry.

While the dentist can do a lot to help if you get gum disease, prevention requires your efforts too. You have to do the right things to take care of your teeth to avoid getting gum disease in the first place. The providers at Whole Body Dental in Bellevue, Washington, offer this guide to help you learn what to do to prevent gum disease.

What is gum disease?

Gum disease occurs when you have a lifetime of improper oral hygiene practices. It’s also sometimes called gingivitis, which refers to the early stages of the disease when your gums (or gingiva) are inflamed. Almost half of all adults over age 30 have gingivitis.

This happens when you leave plaque and tartar on your teeth for too long. This may cause the following symptoms:

  • Bleeding gums, especially when you brush your teeth
  • Red and swollen gums
  • Bad breath that doesn’t go away, even after brushing
  • Sensitivity to hot or cold foods
  • Pain or tenderness when you chew

Some people are at greater risk of developing gum disease, including men and people assigned male at birth, people who live in poverty, pregnant women, people with diabetes, and those who smoke. You’re also at increased risk if your teeth are crowded or crooked because it’s harder to clean between your teeth.

How to prevent gum disease

The dentist can do a lot to help if you develop gum disease, but preventing it requires your efforts. Here are four things you can do to prevent gum disease.

1. Step up your oral hygiene

The things that dentists tell you to do are more than just optional. It’s important to brush your teeth twice a day, for two minutes each time. It’s easy to set a timer on your phone or use an electric toothbrush with a built-in timer. 

After brushing your teeth, brush your tongue to remove any bacteria that could cause bad breath. In addition, you should floss your teeth at least once every day. 

And, of course, you should keep regular appointments for dental cleanings and exams. Twice a year is a good minimum standard.

2. Using antimicrobial mouthwash

Antimicrobial mouthwash is different from regular mouthwash. The latter only seeks to cover up bad breath, while the former kills the microbes of bacteria in your mouth.

Left on your teeth, this bacteria can lead to gum disease because the starches in food can lead to tooth decay and plaque and tartar buildup under your gums.

3. Dental work repair

If you have previous dental work, such as fillings or crowns, these may need replacement. Unfortunately, dental work doesn’t last forever, and your teeth can be exposed to more bacteria by loose or poorly-fitting dental work.

Although it can seem unpleasant to do so, you can start fresh with newly healthy teeth when you pay attention to and repair your previous dental work.

4. Root scaling and planing

This is more of a deep cleaning than your traditional dental cleaning and exam. When you come in, your teeth and gums get an ultrasound-assisted deeper cleaning. 

Root scaling and planing get underneath your gums to remove all of the bacteria and plaque that’s built up there. Scaling involves removing the tartar and plaque while planing creates a smooth surface on your teeth.

Many people who have the beginning stages of gum disease are recommended to have this done. It’s worth it to prevent gum disease from getting worse. These are important practices of holistic dentistry, which focuses on prevention techniques to help you take better care of your teeth.

Gum disease can have a huge impact on your teeth and can even affect your heart health if bacteria spread to your bloodstream. If you have the early signs of gum disease, don’t ignore it. Make an appointment now with the providers at Whole Body Dental or request an appointment online.