Even with advanced preventative services, over half of all adults in the United States have gum disease according to the American Academy of Periodontology. When left untreated, this oral health condition can result in tooth loss, bleeding gums, and chronic pain. Luckily, many patients can completely avoid gum disease with some changes to their oral hygiene habits and regular trips to the dentist.
Use Mouthwash Multiple Times a Day
Brushing and flossing will remove quite a bit of food debris from your mouth, but you also need to use anti-microbial mouthwash a few times a day. Because mouthwash is a liquid, it is able to penetrate the microscopic valleys on the outer layers of your teeth as well as the nooks and crannies in the back of your mouth. Ideally, you should gargle with a high-quality mouthwash after your first meal of the day and just before you go to bed.
Quit Using Tobacco Products
Few things are as devastating to your oral health as tobacco products. Much like mouthwash, the chemicals that are found in tobacco can penetrate deep into your teeth and gums. Even if you attempt to brush and use mouthwash a few extra times per day, tobacco products will drastically increase your risk of developing gum disease. All patients should speak with their doctor or dentist about programs to quit smoking.
Schedule Professional Cleaning Appointments
According to the team at Crest Hill Family Dental, patients should begin scheduling preventative cleaning treatments well before they notice the side effects of gum disease. During these appointments, a dental team will thoroughly inspect your mouth and remove plaque and tartar. Depending on your age and oral health history, you should schedule one or two appointments a year even if you are not showing any signs of gum disease.
Chew Sugar-Free Gum
Chewing gum that is filled with sugar can be extremely bad for your teeth, but sugar-free gum is actually quite good for your oral health. This type of gum is an excellent option for anyone who cannot brush or floss immediately following a meal. Chewing gum has the ability to lift away food debris, lubricate your gums, maintain a neutral pH level in your mouth, and keep you full between meals.
Chronic gum disease isn't an unavoidable part of growing older. Taking the time to clean your mouth multiple times a day, watch what you eat, and regularly visit the dentist will reduce your risk of gum disease, cavities, and countless other oral health issues.
By Meghan Belnap
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