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3 Steps to Prevent Gum Disease

How to prevent periodontitis and gingivitisYou know you can prevent yellow teeth and bad breath with proper oral hygiene, but what about heart disease? Heart disease and gum disease are potentially linked. Periodontitis and gingivitis cause inflammation and excess bacteria – two things that can increase the likelihood of heart disease and stroke. What’s the difference between gingivitis and periodontitis?

Gingivitis is characterized by sore and swollen gums, which can bleed during brushing. It’s caused by a build-up of plaque, but at this stage there’s no permanent damage to your teeth. If left untreated, it can lead to periodontitis, or gum disease.

Periodontal disease is an infection. The gums pull away from the teeth, which can create pockets for bacteria to fester. Plaque can grow beyond the gum line, and bacteria can spread into your bloodstream.

What causes gum disease?

Gum disease usually occurs in the areas you aren’t keeping clean, but a variety of factors can increase your risk. Your risk for gum disease could be higher if you:

  • Are pregnant
  • Have diabetes
  • Have a family history of gum disease
  • Grind or clench your teeth
  • Use tobacco products
  • Take certain medications

It’s important to visit the dentist more frequently when you’re pregnant, since hormonal changes increase the likelihood of periodontal disease. Quitting smoking and tobacco use can also drastically decrease your risk for gum disease. However, you can mitigate these factors through proper oral care.

Follow these tips to prevent gum disease:

  1. Brush your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. It’s basic oral hygiene, but one that’s often forgotten or done inadequately. Make sure you spend adequate time brushing each section of your mouth for a thorough clean.
  2. Floss daily. Far too many people skip this important step, but it’s a dental hygiene must. Without flossing, you miss almost half of the plaque hiding between your teeth and under your gums. Make sure you’re practicing proper flossing techniques for an overall clean mouth.
  3. Get regular cleanings and check-ups. Getting regular cleanings are the best way to prevent gum disease. Over time, tartar builds up on your teeth and can’t be removed by regular brushing methods. We’re also likely to catch any cavities or other serious issues before they turn into more serious dental problems.

Protect your mouth from disease! Make an appointment with Shoreline Dental Studios in San Clemente, California, today.