Did you know approximately 47.2% of Americans over age 30 have gum disease? Thankfully, gum disease can be prevented with good oral hygiene, a healthy diet, and regular trips to your dentist.
In this blog post, we give you our tips for how to avoid gum disease so you don’t become a statistic. If you are concerned about gum disease, we recommend scheduling an appointment with your Grand Rapids family dentist.
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is when gum tissue and surrounding bones are infected. While gingivitis only affects the gums, periodontitis is a more severe form of gum disease that affects your gums and the bones that support your teeth.
Symptoms of gum disease include:
- Bleeding gums
- Swollen gums
- Tender gums
- Perpetual bad breath or bad taste
- Gums that have separated from teeth
- Loose teeth
If you recognize the signs of gum disease in your own smile, we recommend scheduling a dentist appointment and following our tips below for a healthy mouth.
Brush and Floss Your Teeth Daily
Every healthy mouth starts with brushing your teeth twice a day. Make sure you also floss once daily to remove hidden plaque between teeth and along the gum line. If dental plaque is allowed to sit on your teeth, it creates acid that causes tooth decay and gum disease. You may also want to consider using a mouthwash to rinse away any remaining food particles and plaque after brushing.
Increase Your Vitamin C Intake
Did you know that vitamin C is good for your teeth and gums? Vitamin C has healing properties that can stop your gums from bleeding, swelling, or even receding. While most people think of orange juice as a way to get vitamin C, be sure to check the ingredients so you don’t pick a fruit juice with high sugar content. Foods that contain vitamin C include oranges, broccoli, red and green bell peppers, strawberries, and kiwis. You may also consider taking a vitamin C supplement.
Eat Healthy Foods
Eating a balanced diet filled with vitamins and minerals boosts your immunity and helps ward off many diseases, including gum disease. We recommend avoiding foods and beverages that contain a lot of sugar. This is because the bacteria in your mouth feed on sugar to produce acid that causes tooth decay and gum disease.
Drink Plenty of Water
While it may seem weird to think about, the saliva in your mouth is important for washing away food particles from your teeth and gums after you eat. However, if you are dehydrated, you won’t be able to produce as much saliva. Make sure you drink enough water to stay hydrated and maintain a healthy mouth.
While smoking is obviously bad for your lungs, it also harms gum tissue. If you have a history of smoking, you are more at risk for developing gum disease. It’s important to tell your family dentist if you have a history of smoking so that they can check for the beginning signs of gum disease and oral cancer.
Schedule Routine Dental Exams and Teeth Cleanings
We recommend seeing your dentist every six months for a dental exam and teeth cleaning. That way, they’ll be able to catch the warning signs of gum disease before it develops into advanced gum disease (periodontal disease). A routine teeth cleaning is also an opportunity to remove dental plaque and tartar from your teeth and gums.
Dr. Ritzema DDS at Complete Health Dentistry is dedicated to helping patients maintain good oral health and overall health. If you are interested in scheduling an appointment for a teeth cleaning and dental exam, call us at (616) 458-7267.