Did you know that almost half of Americans over 30 have gum disease? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated in 2010 that roughly 47% of adult Americans have mild, moderate, or severe periodontitis. That’s nearly 65 million people.
Early forms of gum disease, like gingivitis, can be cured with a teeth cleaning from your dentist every 6 months and with a healthy oral hygiene routine at home. But once it progresses into periodontal disease, the condition is irreversible.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prevent gum disease, both on your own and with the help of our dentists.
You won’t just wake up one day with a severe case of periodontal disease. Gum disease progresses over time, which means that good oral hygiene can go a long way in preventing it from reaching an irreversible stage.
First, plaque — that sticky layer of microbes you probably felt on your teeth this morning — builds up over time unless you brush and floss regularly. Next, the plaque will mix with other minerals on your teeth and harden into tartar, which usually requires a teeth cleaning to remove. If plaque and tartar aren’t removed, they’ll inflame and irritate your gums, which leads to gum disease.
By brushing and flossing your teeth twice a day, as well as getting your teeth cleaned every six months at the dentist, you’ll have a great oral hygiene routine that should keep your gums healthy.
Vitamin C deficiency is one of the leading causes of gum disease. Eating more oranges, strawberries, kiwis, or even vitamin C supplements can boost your resistance to gum disease. Vitamin C has healing properties that can stop gums from bleeding and swelling — common gum disease symptoms.
Not only is a balanced diet good for your smile, but it can also help improve your overall health. Be sure to stay away from sugary foods and drinks that can lead to tooth decay. The bacteria in plaque feed on carbs and sugar, releasing acids that can then damage your teeth and gums.
Before putting something in your grocery cart, check the nutritional information on the package. Many foods and drinks that are packaged as health items can contain high levels of sugar.
Did you know saliva is one of our body’s best natural defenses against dental plaque? After you eat a meal, your body produces more saliva to wash away plaque and food particles. TO maintain a healthy smile, drink plenty of water throughout the day. Also, keep in mind that certain drinks, such as coffee or alcohol, actually dehydrate rather than hydrate.
During a teeth cleaning, our dental hygienists will be able to remove plaque and tartar from your teeth. Later on, our dentists will be able to check for any signs of gum disease so you can maintain a healthy smile.
Even if you already suffer from periodontal disease, our dentists can help you manage your condition. Scaling and root planing can help prevent receding gums and other oral health issues. By going to the dentist every six months, you can have your gums checked and set a treatment plan if our dentists discover gum disease.
Our Grand Rapids, MI, dentists are dedicated to helping patients maintain healthy smiles by offering teeth cleanings and other preventive dentistry services. Call Contemporary Family Dental at (616) 209-3969, or contact us online to request your appointment today.
This blog has been updated.
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