Did you know? Your oral health is more than just your teeth! Even if you are free from cavities and have beautiful teeth, you can still fall victim to gum disease. In fact, because gum disease is usually painless, many people do not even know they have it until it is too late. Below we’ve rounded up some ways you can improve your dental hygiene to protect your gums from gum disease.
What is gum disease?
Gum disease begins when plaque builds up along the gum line. Plaque is the thin, white film you’ll often find on your teeth before and in-between brushing. Poor dental hygiene can cause plaque buildup along your gum line, eventually leading to decay and disease as plaque is filled with bacteria. Gingivitis is one of the earliest stages of gum disease. Your dentist may diagnose you with gingivitis is he or she notices your gums are inflamed, tender, swollen and/or prone to bleeding. Fortunately, since gingivitis does not affect your teeth or bones, its effects are reversible if treated in time.
However, left untreated, plaque buildup and gingivitis can eventually lead to periodontitis, an advanced form of gum disease. Periodontitis occurs when the bones that hold your teeth in place become impacted by the buildup of plaque and bacteria. Left untreated and periodontitis can turn into advanced periodontitis and even result in the loss of teeth.
How to protect your gums
Fortunately, there are a lot of things you can do on your own at home to protect your gums and overall dental hygiene. These include:
- Flossing daily
- Brush twice daily
- Quit smoking
- Use mouthwash
- Use fluoride toothpaste