An estimated 64.7 million adults in American have gum disease. It is the primary cause of tooth loss and is linked to grave systemic illnesses. Yet, with a sensible program of dental care, gum disease is preventable and treatable. Dr. Charles Martin of Richmond Smile Center shares this healthy advice.
Brush your teeth.
Bacteria thrive in a sticky biofilm of plaque that coats teeth and gums and traps food particles. Brush your teeth at least twice a day; always before bedtime. Use a soft brush and non-abrasive toothpaste. Give attention to the inside and outside surface of each tooth, brushing down from the gum line at the upper arch and up from the gums at the lower arch. “Thorough but gentle” is the best technique. Aggressive brushing can harm gums.
Floss every day.
Thirty percent of the surface area of teeth cannot be reached with a toothbrush. Using about 18 inches of floss, pull it gently between teeth. Draw it in a V-shape, and slide it up and down to the left, then to the right. Don’t forget to floss the outside of the farthest-back molars, since it is difficult to brush that spot. Bacteria feast while you sleep, so it is especially important to floss before you go to bed.
Eat a heathy diet.
Nutritious foods help your body keep disease-causing mouth bacteria at bay. Gum disease is an inflammatory ailment, so include foods known to fight inflammation naturally – salmon, tuna, sardines, red onions, tomatoes, broccoli, red cabbage, garlic, red bell pepper, red grapes, cherries, plums, and oranges. Avoid sugary beverages, and limit caffeine and alcohol. Instead, hydrate your mouth and your body with plenty of fresh water.
Don’t use tobacco.
Smoking weakens your immune system, so your body can’t fight infection efficiently, and gums heal more slowly. Smokers have twice the risk of gum disease as non-smokers, and it increases the more you smoke and the longer you’ve used tobacco. Smokeless tobacco also contains nicotine and tar, filled with harmful chemicals that increase accumulation of plaque and tartar, and cause gums to recede.
Keep regular check-up appointments.
No matter how conscientiously you look after your mouth at home, it is very important to see your dentist regularly. The hygienist has special tools and training to reach spots you can’t, to remove plaque and tartar. Exam visits give the dentist a chance to screen for early stages of gum disease, as well as oral cancers, and dental problems.
It’s not too late to treat your gum disease.
Even if you’ve neglected your mouth for a while, please do not hesitate to call Dr. Martin at 804.417.7203. He provides a range of treatments to get gum disease under control, and manage it effectively for ongoing oral health. At Richmond Smile Center, you won’t get a lecture – you’ll get the solutions you need.
Last Updated - June 2016
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