What is Gum Disease and How do we prevent it?

There are two types of gum disease – Gingivitis (Reversible early stage) and it’s advanced cousin, Periodontitis (Non-reversible advanced gum disease).

Both Gingivitis and Periodontitis are usually silent offenders. Most often, you will not even know you should be concerned.  The biggest reason for this is that the bacteria that cause gum disease usually attack beneath your gum line where you can’t see them.

What’s worse is that more and more evidence based research is now proving that plaque that builds in our mouth and gum disease bacteria can also influence and worsen conditions like heart disease, diabetes and stroke – conditions that are certainly more serious that we do not want to encourage by a lack of discipline to good oral hygiene.

So how does gum disease start?

Plaque builds on our teeth throughout the day and should be cleaned in the morning and at night so that it doesn’t harden and encourage bacterial growth which eventually is the reason why gums get red, puffy and bleed when you brush or floss.  Many people think bleeding gums is normal but like anywhere in the body, bleeding is NOT normal.  It signifies inflammatory process that will eventually cause regression in the jaw bone which is the backbone of healthy and strong teeth in our mouth.

To avoid gum disease, a solid oral care regime is of utmost importance – simple things like brushing twice a day, flossing at least once per day and use mouthwash. This is the familiar advise that you all hear at your dental visits, so let’s step away from that simple 3-step plan and look at other ways to prevent gum disease.

  • Eat more Veggies!Everyone knows we need more vegetables in our diets.  Our waistlines and our teeth love them for their water content, as well as their vitamin and minerals that are oh so helpful. There’s no doubt about it, veggies are good for you.

Not a big fan of veggies? Try adding them into soups, or in a great fruit smoothie … you won’t notice the difference, but your health will improve along with your teeth and gums.

  • Use an anti-microbial mouthwash: The key here is using mouthwash that is anti-microbial. Talk to your Round Lake Family Dentist if you need recommendations and find one you’ll actually use every day, and use it once in the morning after brushing, and again after brushing before bed.  One thing to keep in mind is to try to find one that’s low in alcohol or without it altogether, as any alcohol content dries out your mouth and can contribute to tooth decay. More saliva means more natural buffer in our mouths to help fight against bacteria and better oral health.
  • Try a toothbrush that moves:Get adventurous and test out an electronic toothbrush that’s been endorsed by the American Dental Association (ADA).  These toothbrushes are more effective than you’ll ever be at removing plaque and bacteria, and will protect your gums from aggressive brushing.
  • Chew Gum! Keep that saliva flow going after a meal with sugar-free gum that contains Xylitol — a natural sweetener derived from plants. It doesn’t break down like sugar, and can help keep a neutral pH level in the mouth by stimulating more saliva.  If you want to avoid Aspartame in your Xylitol chewing gum, search online or ask your Round Lake Beach dentist.  It’s difficult to find gum without Aspartame these days, but such a product does exist.
  • Consider orthodontic treatment – Get Braces!That’s right, getting braces can help protect you from gum disease.  And we’re not saying you always need the unsightly metal ones – you can now consider Clear Braces – such as Invisalign.  Crooked teeth are great enablers of plaque build up, cause difficulty getting plaque removed due to poor access which can lead to gum disease by allowing bacteria and plaque to colonize in the areas where your teeth are not aligned.

Getting your teeth straightened eliminates these blockouts where your toothbrush cannot reach, all while improving your smile at the same time.  If interested, call us @ (847) 740-0219 for a FREE consultation.

  • Quit Smoking!This one is always worth mentioning. Smoking is always bad for your body, your gums, and your teeth.  Smoking causes decreased ability to heal, reduces blood supply which is necessary for healthy nourishment to our gums and causes irreversible bone loss which can cause tooth loss.

As always, we recommend seeing your dentist every 6 months so early signs of gum disease can be detected and treatment can be started as soon as possible to halt the damage to your gums and teeth.

If you have any questions about anything mentioned in this post, please do not hesitate to talk to Dr.Shah at your next visit at Streamwood Family Dentistry.  Call us to schedule your appointment @ (847)740-0219 or Schedule Online today!