It’s National Gum Care Month and we’re sharing our top tips for keeping your gums healthy and strong through all phases of life. Dental patients are typically concerned about cavities and tooth decay when they come to Ashland Dental for their regular cleanings. Those are valid areas of the mouth to be concerned about. However, many patients may not realize that a large part of cavity prevention starts with maintaining a healthy gum line. As your trusted Chicago family dentist, we are ready to help you improve your daily gum care to help you prevent gum disease.
Why Is Good Gum Care So Important?
Like the foundation of your home, your gums are critical to supporting and protecting your teeth. Gum disease is an extremely common problem that has a broad impact on your body’s complete health. In addition to supporting the perfect conditions for tooth decay, gum disease is linked to a variety of chronic conditions that worsen as you age.
- People with gum disease are more likely to suffer from heart disease than those without — 2-3 times more likely.
- Periodontal disease is more common as you age, with more than 70% of adults over 65 afflicted with the condition.
- Gum disease has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease and older adults with the condition have been shown to lose memory six times faster than their peers.
- Gum disease is linked to diabetes, uncontrolled diabetes in particular.
Simple Steps for Caring for Your Gums
Preventing gum disease is not all that difficult. It just takes dedication to create healthy habits. These steps can help you establish a routine for gum care that is easy to incorporate into your daily life.
- Brush your teeth daily with fluoride toothpaste. Brushing your teeth removes the harmful bacteria that can cause gingivitis and gum disease. When brushing your teeth, do not just brush across the surface of your teeth. Brush your gums and your tongue, as well. Pay careful attention to brushing along your gum line. Use tight circles to help your toothbrush clean between your gums and teeth.
- Floss your teeth daily. Flossing is the one oral care step many patients neglect and it’s probably the most important. Food and bacteria love to hide out between teeth and in the pockets of your gums. That’s the breeding ground for the bacteria that can cause gum disease and lead to further physical complications. Floss between teeth and gently down between your gums and teeth.
- Cut back on sugar. We know that’s a hard step. We are entering an entire quarter dedicated to sweets: Halloween candy, Thanksgiving pies, Christmas cookies … it’s a tough time of year to abstain. However, the bacteria that destroy your gums love sugar. They feed off of it like crazy and then excrete the harmful toxins that cause harm to your gums and your body. Try to substitute healthier treats for candy. If you can’t quite manage to skip the sweets, avoid hard or sticky treats that cling to your teeth and act as a feeder for bacteria.
- Enlist back-up with gum disease prevention. At Ashland Dental, we help our patients treat and prevent gum disease with Perio Protect. Perio Protect trays help fight oral bacteria and gum disease by allowing a bacteria-killing solution to get deep in the gum line. Prevention like Perio Protect makes it easier for you to care for your gums without harsh scraping, surgery or other more invasive intervention. The trays have the added bonus of whitening your teeth and giving you fresher breath, too.
- Visit your dentist regularly and stay on track with regular cleanings. Your dental hygienist and dentist are trained to detect the signs of gum disease and help you take steps to protect yourself. Additionally, your regular cleanings prevent the build-up of tartar and plaque that increases the likelihood of infection. The best way to stay on top of your cleanings is to schedule your next cleaning when you are already at the dentist. Don’t worry, though, our office team will call to check on you if we’ve noticed it’s been a while.
Don’t Go It Alone
If you’re concerned about your gum health, give us a call! We would love to be your ally in the fight to prevent and reverse gum disease. Set up an appointment for an evaluation. We will help you establish a healthy mouth baseline and create a plan for caring for your teeth and gums.