When was the last time you thought about your gums? If you’re like most Americans, you probably don’t do it very often. Unfortunately, almost half of American adults have gum disease, and an estimated 80% will face this condition sometime during their lifetime. Gum disease in and of itself isn’t fatal. However, it can lead to other complications that may put your health at risk, such as heart disease.
Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease, and it causes swollen painful gums. From there, gingivitis progresses to periodontal disease, and the infection can spread into teeth and bone. Fortunately, gum disease is preventable.
Taking excellent care of your teeth and gums is our passion at Grace Dental Group in San Francisco, CA. To that end, our experienced dental professionals offer the following tips to help you keep your gums strong and healthy.
1. Quit smoking
We know smoking is a tough habit to break, and we also know that many people turn to smoking for stress relief. But the nicotine in cigarettes isn’t just bad for your lungs, it can also put you at risk for developing gum disease.
Nicotine weakens your immune system, which makes it harder for your body to fight off infections, including those affecting your gums. As a result, smoking can lengthen your healing time. For help quitting smoking, we recommend talking with your primary care physician.
2. Brush and floss regularly
Regular brushing significantly reduces your risk of developing gum disease, and it lessens your chances of getting tooth decay and weakened enamel. When you have gum disease, it can weaken or loosen your teeth, and your teeth are crucial to your survival.
We also know flossing isn’t a habit that most people have. However, it’s just as important as brushing. That’s because flossing helps remove the tiny food particles trapped between your teeth that can’t be seen or removed by brushing or with mouthwash. When ignored, these food particles will eventually form plaque, which can then cause gum disease.
3. Eat healthily
Consuming healthy foods, such as leafy greens, raw apples, green tea, and even some dairy products, are not only good for your body, but they’re also good for your teeth. Furthermore, don’t consume too much sugar as it can lead to cavities, especially if you’re not practicing good oral hygiene. To protect your teeth, choose foods wisely. If you’re not sure how to eat for your dental health, we’ll be happy to give you guidance.
4. Get regular cleanings
No matter how much you brush or floss, you won’t be able to get everything all the time. So in combination with the steps above, make sure you get regular checkups and cleanings. Depending on the condition of your mouth, we’ll let you know how many times a year you should come in. The average is twice a year.