Tips for Preventing Gum Disease

Categories: General Dentistry

According to the CDC, nearly half of all adults over 30 show signs of gum disease, with severe gum disease affecting about 9% of the adult population. To help raise awareness about gum disease in its various forms and how it can be prevented, February has been designated National Gum Disease Awareness Month.

At Pacific Northwest Smiles, we want to do our part to help spread the word and promote healthy gums by covering everything you need to know about gum disease, including the different types of gum disease, what causes it, and tips for keeping your gums healthy.

Types of Gum Disease

There are two types of gum disease that you need to be aware of: gingivitis and periodontitis.

The early stage of gum disease, gingivitis, is mostly caused by plaque buildup on the teeth and gums. When this plaque is not removed, it can irritate and inflame the gums, leading to redness, swelling of the gums, tender or bleeding gums, and bad breath (halitosis).

If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to a condition called periodontitis. This condition is characterized by an immune system response to prolonged plaque buildup and can cause significant damage to the gums and the bones supporting the teeth. Severe cases of periodontitis can lead to tooth and bone loss.

Tips for Preventing Gum Disease

Gum disease is no laughing matter, but the good news is that proper oral hygiene can largely prevent the condition. Here are a few tips you can follow to keep your gums healthy and free of plaque buildup:

  • Regularly Brush and floss: You should brush at least twice daily using fluoride toothpaste and floss at least once daily to remove plaque buildup.
  • Hydrate: Drinking plenty of water will help flush out the bacteria responsible for causing plaque buildup.
  • Limit Sugars: Sugary foods and drinks can contribute to plaque formation, making it a good idea to limit them as much as possible.
  • Avoid Tobacco Products: Both smoking and chewing tobacco have been found to increase the risk of gum disease.
  • Attend Regular Dental Checkups: Visiting a dentist at least twice a year will help you keep your gums clean and ensure that any warning signs of gum disease are spotted as soon as possible.

Contact Pacific Northwest Smiles Today

At Pacific Northwest Smiles, we want to help our community keep their gums healthy this February and beyond. Schedule an appointment online for a checkup and cleaning, or call us at 425-357-6400.