When you think of a beautiful smile, you likely think of straight, white teeth. But what about the gums that hold them in place?
Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a common and sneaky condition that can wreak havoc on your oral health, if left unchecked.
Thankfully, at Livwell Dentistry in San Francisco and San Ramon, California, you can keep gum disease at bay. Here, Dr. Wenli Loo and Dr. Steve Deng have made it their business to help you ensure your gums stay healthy and your smile bright.
In this article, we'll walk you through how to recognize and prevent gum disease.
What is gum disease?
Typically caused by poor brushing and flossing habits, gum or periodontal disease is an infection of the tissues that hold your teeth in place. These kinds of bad habits allow plaque, which is a sticky film of bacteria, to build up and harden on your teeth.
It usually starts as gingivitis, where your gums might be red, swollen, and bleed easily. If left untreated, it can progress to periodontitis, which can damage the gums and bones that support your teeth.
How to avoid gum disease
To stay on top of your gum health, consider following these tips:
Brush your teeth properly
Brushing your teeth correctly is fundamental for your dental health. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste to gently brush all surfaces of your teeth.
The golden rule is to brush at least twice daily, but brushing after meals is even better.
Don't forget to floss
Flossing isn't just something we dentists nag you about. It's vital and should be done at least once a day. It helps remove plaque and food particles that your toothbrush can't reach.
Finish up with mouthwash
Consider using a mouthwash with antiseptic properties. It's like a safety net that catches what brushing and flossing might have missed, and it keeps your breath fresh, too.
Watch what you eat
What you eat matters. Like the rest of your body, your gums need essential nutrients to stay healthy. Here are some foods that are your gums' best friends:
- Crunchy fruits and vegetables like apples, carrots, and celery help to clean your teeth and gums as you chew
- Cheese, yogurt, and milk are packed with calcium that strengthens your teeth and gums
- Green tea is full of antioxidant properties that can help reduce inflammation in your gums
- Water is essential for washing away food particles and keeping your saliva levels up, which is your natural protection against gum disease
Smoking is strongly linked to the onset of gum disease. The chemicals in tobacco can affect the flow of saliva and the normal function of gum tissue cells. Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for your gums and your overall health.
Regular dental check-ups
No matter how impeccable your oral hygiene routine might be, regular visits to the dentist are non-negotiable.
We recommend checkups every six months. This allows us to spot early signs of gum disease and take action before it becomes a major issue.
Know the warning signs
Keep an eye out for signs of gum disease like redness, swelling, bleeding, or persistent bad breath. If you spot any of these, don't panic. Schedule an appointment with us. Dr. Loo and Dr. Deng are here to guide you through the best treatment options.
Maintaining the health of your gums is essential for a brilliant smile. You can avoid gum disease with proper oral hygiene, regular dental check-ups, a balanced diet, and lifestyle changes.
Book an appointment online today for personalized advice and exceptional dental care, or call 415-477-3700.