Oral health and gum disease prevention tips from a holistic dentist in Greenville, SC
Gum disease is a chronic bacterial infection that adversely affects the gums and bone that support your teeth. It can affect one or many teeth and can lead to tooth loss and other very serious overall health problems.
We all have bacteria in our mouth. When left alone, the bacteria in plaque builds up on teeth, which causes the gums to become inflamed. This mild form of gum disease is commonly referred to as gingivitis. Symptoms of gingivitis include gums that become swollen, red, and prone to bleeding. Another common symptom of gingivitis is bad breath. Gingivitis is reversible with a combination of professional cleanings and a good oral hygiene routine.
When gingivitis is left untreated, it can advance to periodontitis. At this stage, plaque has spread below the gum line. The toxins in the bacteria stimulate an inflammatory response that breaks down the bone structure supporting the teeth. Eventually, gums will separate from the teeth and form pockets that become infected. The pockets will continue to deepen and destroy gum and bone. Eventually, periodontitis will cause tooth loss.
Generally, gum disease can be prevented by proper oral care, including:
- Brushing your teeth at least twice per day with proper technique, which includes making sure to clean all sides of the teeth along with the tongue
- Consider using an electric toothbrush for optimal cleaning
- Use antiseptic or antiplaque mouthwash
- Floss at least once per day with proper technique
- Visit with your dentist regularly for checkups and professional cleanings
If you currently have gum disease, your gums may bleed when brushing and flossing. This should stop as the health of the gums improves. If you have bleeding gums and have not already received a diagnosis of gum disease, make an appointment with your dentist to have it evaluated.
Proper nutrition can also aid in the prevention of gum disease and improve oral and overall wellness:
- A balanced diet that includes lean proteins, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables can help you have healthy gums and avoid tooth decay
- Foods like cheeses, yogurt, milk, and peanuts can all protect against plaque are all good for the health of your teeth
- Avoiding snacks right before bed can keep plaque buildup away
Tobacco use and smoking are also linked to an increased risk for gum disease as well as other serious disease, including cancer. If you currently smoke and need help quitting, ask us for referral to resources.
Gum disease is one of the most preventable oral health issues that dentists uncover. At Palmer Distinctive Dentistry, our holistic approach to dentistry allows us to help our patients achieve health in the mouth and the rest of the body. For more information about prevention or holistic services offered in Greenville, call us today.