The leading cause of tooth loss is gum disease. Periodontal, or gum, disease affects an estimated 50% or more of adults over 30 years of age. It is not only an oral health problem – gum disease also increases risk of serious health conditions like type 2 diabetes, stroke and cardiovascular disease. Gum disease does not occur overnight, as it is a progressive disease that worsens over time. The good news is that periodontal disease can be prevented or treated to slow or stop the progression. Here are four ways to reduce your risk of gum disease for improved oral and overall health.
Daily Brushing and Flossing
The main cause of gum disease is poor oral hygiene. The bacteria that feed on food debris left on and in between teeth create plaque that can harden into tartar. Plaque and tartar irritate the gums, starting the first stages of gum infection, gingivitis and gum disease. Brushing and flossing every day can greatly reduce the risk of gum disease by removing food debris, bacteria and plaque from the teeth. Using a mouthwash can also reduce plaque in hard-to-reach areas.
Routine Dental Cleanings
When plaque hardens into tartar, the only way to remove it is with a professional dental cleaning. Most people should have a dental cleaning every six months to thoroughly clean plaque and tartar from the teeth. Our dental hygienists at Hollon Dental can clean hard-to-reach areas of the teeth to help maintain gum and teeth health.
Routine Dental Checkups
On top of dental cleanings, dental checkups can reduce the chance of progressive gum disease by identifying the early signs. During your checkup and cleaning, a periodontal exam will be performed to detect any signs of gingivitis or gum infection. In the early stages, gum disease can be stopped and even reversed with treatment. Even progressed gum disease can be managed with periodontal disease treatment at Hollon Dental.
There are other factors that can increase your risk of gum disease, even if you sustain good oral hygiene and routine visits to your dentist. Smoking can increase your risk of gum disease, and quitting this habit can improve your oral and overall health. Other lifestyle factors that can help reduce your risk of gum disease include staying hydrated and eating a healthy diet.
Combining home dental care, good health habits and routine dental visits are the best way to reduce your risk of periodontal disease. If it has been longer than six months since your last dental cleaning, call our office in Mobile to schedule your next appointment. Our dental team is here to help you maintain your smile and your oral health.