According to the Centers for Disease Control, half of adults in the United States over the age of 30 suffer from some form of periodontal disease. Can you take steps to prevent gum disease? Despite the widespread prevalence of the disease, you can take preventive measures to help avoid the onset of serious gum problems.
Frequently Asked Questions About Gum Disease Prevention
Question: What causes gum disease?
Answer: Gum disease occurs when the gums become inflamed, which leads to gingivitis. Over time, the inflamed gums will pull away from the teeth and form pockets at the gum line. Once bacteria enter these pockets the disease may form, threatening the health of your smile. Inflammation can be the result of poor oral hygiene, hormonal fluctuations, use of tobacco products, or certain illnesses.
Question: Will brushing and flossing help with prevention?
Answer: Yes. When you brush and floss your teeth you help control the amount of plaque that builds up on your smile. Doing so limits the risk of gingivitis and gum disease. You should brush your teeth twice a day and floss once a day, preferably before going to bed.
Question: Do I need to have my teeth cleaned?
Answer: Yes. A cleaning is the only way to completely remove all traces of plaque and tartar from your teeth. You should have your teeth cleaned by your dentist or hygienist once every six months. If you have risk factors for developing periodontal disease, then the doctor may suggest one every three to four months instead.
Question: What warning signs should I be aware of?
Answer: You should contact your dentist if you notice your gums appear more red than usual, feel sensitive, or if they bleed easily, particularly when you brush and floss. These could be warning signs of gingivitis. Treating the issue in this stage can help avoid the onset of periodontal disease.