Have you noticed a change in your gums recently? Do they look red and puffy or easily bleed when you brush and floss?
Both are early signs of periodontal (gum disease), a bacterial infection of the gums. Gum disease won’t go away on its own and ultimately causes severe damage if not treated. Let’s take a look at what gum disease is and steps you can take to avoid it.
What is Gum Disease?
Throughout your day, a sticky film called plaque builds up on your teeth. Plaque is made up of food particles and saliva that attract bacteria. If plaque isn’t removed routinely with brushing and flossing, the gums become infected, and without treatment, the infection attacks the supporting structures of your teeth, ultimately leading to tooth loss.
5 Steps to Avoid Gum Disease
Prevention is the key to avoiding gum disease. Here are some of the steps you can take to keep your smile healthy.
- Brush – Brush your teeth after meals to help get rid of food particles and plaque buildup between teeth. You should also brush your tongue, which also harbors bacteria.
- Floss – Brushing does only part of the job because your toothbrush can’t reach every crack and crevice between teeth. Floss daily to keep all surfaces of your teeth as clean as possible.
- Use mouthwash – Swishing with mouthwash helps control plaque and carry away food particles.
- Understand your risk – Smoking, age, diet, and genetics are some of the risk factors for gum disease. Knowing why you are prone to gum disease helps you understand what steps you can take to avoid it.
- Get routine checkups – For many people, cleanings and exams twice a year are sufficient. But if you are at risk for gum disease, your dentist may recommend more frequent intervals.
Please Call Us to Schedule Your Next Appointment
If you suspect you may have a gum infection, please call Harleysville dentist Dr. William T. McMaugh to arrange an appointment. We will provide a thorough exam and cleaning and develop a treatment plan to restore your healthy smile.