Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is a chronic bacterial infection of the gums, periodontal ligament, and bone that surround and support the teeth. Gum disease includes gingivitis (the early stage of gum disease) and periodontitis (a more advanced stage of the disease). The condition, which studies have indicated afflicts nearly 80 percent of Americans at some point in their life, causes a chronic inflammation of the gums and surrounding tissue. You can prevent periodontal disease by brushing and flossing regularly, visiting your dentist twice a year for exams and cleaning, and sticking to a healthy, balanced diet.
Making sure that you practice good dental habits is one of the simplest things that you can do to avoid gum disease. These include:
- Brushing your teeth twice a day with toothpaste containing fluoride. Make sure to brush all sides of your teeth, including brushing your tongue as plaque can cause bad breath, also known as halitosis. We recommend chewing sugar-free gum, especially one containing xylitol, a sugar substitute.
- Using an electric toothbrush removes plaque more effectively than a regular toothbrush. Look for one that has the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Approval or ask the doctor during your next visit.
- Using an antiseptic mouthwash such as Listerine. Fluoride or antiplaque mouthwash is also helpful at killing off bacteria in the mouth.
- Flossing once a day helps get rid of particles of food wedged in the crevices between your teeth. Simply curve the floss around each tooth into a U-shape, and slide it gently under the gum line. Move the floss firmly up and down several times to scrape off the plaque. If you’re not sure which floss to buy or how to floss, ask the doctor during your next visit.
To learn more about preventing gum disease, or to schedule your next visit with the doctor, please give us a call today!