If you want to hold on to your teeth, you want to keep your gums healthy.
Your gums are the soft tissue that covers your jaw bones. This tissue forms a tight seal, holding your teeth in your mouth, supporting your bones, and keeping bacteria out. If you don’t take proper care of your teeth and gums, bacteria can build up under your gum line, which can lead to infection and lost teeth.
In addition to affecting the health inside your mouth, poor oral health can translate to poor health in other parts of your body. Research has found a connection between oral hygiene and heart and lung disease.
The Progress of Gum Disease
Depending on how far your gum disease has progressed, you may be able to reverse its progress with proper oral hygiene. Gum disease can be broken up into three phases.
Gingivitis: This is the early stage of gum disease, when the plaque between your teeth start to give off toxins that irritate and inflame your gum tissue. If you catch gingivitis early, you can usually reverse it with proper brushing and flossing.
Mild to Moderate Periodontitis: This is a low-grade infection that slowly deteriorates gum tissue. The seal between your teeth, gums, and bone tissue begins to weaken, and pockets form.
Advanced Periodontitis: If your case of gum disease has gotten advanced, the pockets near your gums will grow deeper, and your teeth may start to fall out.
Ways You Can Prevent Gum Disease
The rules for avoiding gum disease aren’t so different from the rules for avoiding other dental problems, or for keeping your body healthy as a whole:
- Brush twice a day
- Floss daily
- Eat a balanced diet
- Drink plenty of water
- Do not use tobacco of any kind
- Avoid stress
A Common Problem
According to the CDC, nearly 50% of Americans 30 years and older have some form of periodontal disease. Since the disease is usually painless, they often don’t even know they are suffering from the disease.
This is a problem, because early diagnosis and treatment are paramount to reversing the disease. Preventing gum disease is one of the many reasons why it’s so important to visit the dentist every 6 months. They will clear away built-up tartar and monitor your hygiene habits, so you will know if changes need to be made.