Preventing Periodontal Disease: 5 Oral Hygiene Tips for Better Gum Care

Take steps to prevent periodontal disease.

Make gum care a regular part of your daily oral hygiene routine.

According to the CDC, nearly 50% of adults over 30 have periodontal disease, and that percentage jumps to 70% in adults over 65. But did you know that periodontal disease is something you can avoid altogether? Take control of your oral health with these 5 simple tips.

What is periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is chronic inflammation of the gum tissue that holds the teeth in place. Bacteria buildup below the gumline is the root cause of the infection. Symptoms may include persistent bad breath, a bad taste, bleeding gums, gum swelling, pain when chewing, receding gums, loose teeth, and a change in bite. 

Though it is possible to treat gum disease with deep cleanings and other periodontal therapies, it’s much easier to work toward preventing gum disease from reaching that point. Thankfully, gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease, is completely reversible if you add a few simple habits into your oral hygiene routine.

So to make sure your gums stay in top shape, follow the 5 tips below.

1. Master the proper brushing technique.

One of the best things you can do to stay on top of your oral hygiene is brush your teeth properly. You should be brushing your teeth at least twice a day for a minimum of two minutes each time. Many dentists recommend breaking up your mouth into quadrants and focusing on each area for at least 30 seconds. While brushing, hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle toward the gumline, making small circles until you’ve cleaned all surfaces of your teeth.

While the technique you use to brush your teeth is important, the tools you use for the job are also key. We recommend using a soft-bristled brush, with a head that you can comfortably maneuver to reach the backs and sides of your molars. Remember to use a toothpaste fortified with fluoride, a mineral that helps to keep the enamel of your teeth strong.

If you are unsure of which toothbrush and toothpaste to use, look for the American Dental Association (ADA) seal, which means the product is recommended by dentists. Or you can always ask the team at Davis Family Dental Care for a recommendation.

2. Don’t skip the floss.

Another way to keep periodontal disease at bay is by flossing daily. Flossing is important because it removes any plaque stuck between the teeth and below the gums. Plaque is not only a contributing factor in gum disease, but it can also lead to tooth decay and cavities.

But what is the proper way to floss? Choose your preferred dental floss and break off a piece that is about 18 inches long. Next, you want to wind the majority of the floss around your middle fingers, making sure to hold the middle section in between your hands firmly between your index fingers and thumbs.

Begin flossing by gently sliding the dental floss between your teeth, rubbing up and down the tooth surface to wipe away debris. As you near the gums, make a C shape with your dental floss and gently slip it below the gumline. You will want to repeat this process on the other side of your tooth before sliding the dental floss out.

Wind the used portion of dental floss down on your nondominant hand, bringing a fresh, unused piece between your fingers. Repeat the act of flossing throughout your mouth.

If traditional dental floss doesn’t work for you, you can try using a water flosser, which uses a stream of pressurized water to “floss” or clean in between your teeth. There are also floss picks available, which consist of small pieces of dental floss attached to plastic handles for easier flossing.

3. Visit the dentist at least twice a year.

Another important part of your oral health care routine should include seeing the dental team at Davis Family Dental Care at least twice a year. Biannual preventive cleanings and evaluations allow your dentist to check out your dental health and catch any issues before they become big problems. Your dental hygienist will also remove all plaque and hardened tartar that could otherwise lead to periodontal disease.

At Davis Family Dental Care, we are experts helping you prioritize gum health. We can perform periodontal therapy to stop active gum disease. We also offer a treatment called Perio Protect, a system of special trays containing medication that hits the source of periodontitis below the gums.

4. Eat a balanced diet.

A balanced diet is great for your overall health, but the right balance of nutrients can do wonders for your dental health too. When considering what foods to eat, choose foods that are rich in calcium, like cheese and yogurt, because the calcium can help fortify enamel, as well as foods rich in vitamin C, like fruits and bell peppers. Other favorites include leafy greens, such as spinach, along with celery and apples because their fibers may help sweep away dental plaque.

While you need to make sure you are getting enough of the good foods, you also need to limit the “bad” foods in your diet. Try to avoid foods high in sugar or acid as prolonged acid exposure can erode enamel and raise your risk of decay.

5. Say no to tobacco.

Finally, another way to keep your mouth healthy and to help prevent periodontal disease is to avoid tobacco products, which can wreak havoc not just in your mouth but on your entire body. Smoking lowers blood oxygen levels, which restricts healthy blood flow to the gums and slows healing.

You can also keep your dental health in check by keeping your regular health in check. If you have any chronic health conditions, like diabetes, make sure you are paying close attention to your tooth and gum health. Studies have shown a strong correlation between poorly controlled systemic health issues and the progression of gum disease.

Use these 5 tips to keep your gums healthy. 

We know that when life gets busy it can be easy to let some things slip, but following these 5 tips will help you keep your smile bright and healthy for years to come. If it’s been a while since your last dental checkup or you have questions about the health of your smile, contact our team at Davis Family Dental Care for a visit. We’re your partner in oral health.