Health and Fitness

How to Prevent Gum Disease Later in Life

Gum disease is a serious, painful gum infection that can lead to tooth loss. There are two forms of gum disease: gingivitis and periodontitis. Unfortunately, these preventable diseases are far too common. Your risks of developing gum disease increase as you age. This is because your cells renew more slowly, and your body has a more difficult time fighting infection. There are 3 easy steps you can take to greatly reduce your risk of contracting gum disease later in life.

Eat Healthy

A healthy mouth starts with a healthy diet. Healthy foods can protect your oral health, and unhealthy foods can lead to a decline in oral health. Getting the proper nutrients in your diet will strengthen the sensitive tissues in your mouth and help them resist infection. One important nutrient for oral health is calcium. At the same time, foods high in sugar and other simple carbohydrates, as well as acidic foods and drinks, increase the tartar and plaque that lead to tooth decay, gingivitis, and periodontal disease.

Floss Your Teeth

Most people brush their teeth, but devout flossers are much less common. Unfortunately, brushing alone simply can’t reach the spaces between your teeth. These spaces are great spots for plaque to hide out. This causes a build-up of tartar, in turn causing dental caries and gum disease. If you need another reason to floss, it can be difficult to combat bad breath without cleaning all parts of your mouth—including between your teeth. If you wear braces, flossing can be a challenge. Some tools make flossing easier when you have braces. Two of these tools are the simple floss threader, and the water flosser.

Visit Your Dentist Regularly

Of the two forms of gum disease, gingivitis is milder and can be reversed. However, if not treated, gingivitis can advance to periodontitis, which is incurable. What is especially worrisome, is that gingivitis is generally painless. In fact, you won’t normally feel pain until the gum disease has become dangerously advanced. Keep this important rule in mind: Healthy gums don’t bleed. If your gums are bleeding, go to the dentist right away. To keep this from happening, visit the dentist and hygienist every 6 months. Your dentist can watch for any early signs of gum disease. At the same time, your hygienist will clean your teeth far more effectively than you can on your own. The importance of visiting the dentist can’t be overstated.

Don’t lose your oral health as you age. With the proper oral hygiene and frequent visits to the dentist, you can maintain a healthy smile all your life. Remember, gum disease is preventable. There is no reason you should have to suffer from this devastating illness.

Check out this article on how to keep your teeth clean when you have braces!