Nearly half of the adult population in the United States has gum disease — making periodontitis a growing epidemic in this country. Individuals with gum disease may experience swollen and red gums, bad breath, receding gums and even tooth loss. In order to reduce your chances of developing this condition, you must take good care of your gums. Here are seven ways to maintain healthy gums.
1. Eat the Right Foods
What you put in your mouth does more than affect your waistline —it can also impact your oral health. For example, apples are great for your gums because they have such an abrasive texture. When you eat an apple, it gently removes plaque on your teeth and gum line. Munching on apples regularly throughout the week can keep your gums in great shape.
Leafy greens are also beneficial for your gums because you have to chew them a lot. All that chewing causes your mouth to produce more saliva, which washes away plaque and bacteria.
2. Brush Your Tongue
Even if you brush your teeth and floss between your gums every day, you still might not remove all the bacteria from your mouth. There is actually a lot of bacteria that accumulates on your tongue throughout the day. It's important to clean your tongue every day with your toothbrush. Otherwise, the bacteria can transfer to your gums and cause an infection.
3. Quit Smoking
You probably already know that cigarettes are terrible for your heart and lungs. Do you also know that they can wreak havoc on your gums? If you currently smoke, you are four times more likely to develop gum disease than nonsmokers. Smoking increases the risk of gum disease by lowering your body's immune function.
If you don't have a healthy immune system, you are more likely to contract infections — including ones in your gums. If you quit this habit, you can lower your chances of getting diagnosed with gum disease and many other health conditions.
4. Use an Electric Toothbrush
If you do not already have one, you might want to consider investing in an electric toothbrush. It's a little bit more expensive than a standard toothbrush, but it does a much better job at removing plaque underneath your gum line. Using an electric toothbrush can also prevent you from brushing your teeth too aggressively.
5. Don't Use the Same Piece of Floss
A common mistake people make when flossing is using the same piece of floss over and over again. Doing this can spread bacteria between teeth. To avoid this, remember to use a new piece of dental floss each time you floss your teeth.
6. Cut Down on Sugary Treats
It is not a good idea to eat sugary treats all the time. If you regularly consume doughnuts and other sweets, you can increase your risk of getting gum disease and experiencing other oral health problems. Sugar tends to linger on your teeth and gums for hours, attracting bacteria. When you do have a craving for a sweet treat, do not forget to rinse your mouth out with water.
7. Pay Attention to Signs of Gum Disease
The sooner gum disease is detected, the easier it is to treat. If you notice that your gums are red and puffy or bleed when you brush your teeth, you should make an appointment to see your dentist as soon as possible.
Gum disease doesn't have to be in your future. If you follow these tips, you can reduce your risk of being diagnosed with this oral health disease. For more information about gum disease, contact Fox Dental Associates.