5 Effective Ways to Prevent Gum Disease

5 Effective Ways to Prevent Gum Disease

It may sound cliché, but the traditional wisdom asserting that “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is as valid today as it was more than two hundred years ago when Benjamin Franklin wrote it.

Although the original context was a metaphor for preventing fire, the quotation has mainly been interpreted to be closer to its literal health-related implications.

It a truism when it comes to gum disease prevention. You can save a lot of money and time, and avoid misery in the long term, by taking advantage of regular dental health services from a trusted dentist.

Health risks associated with gum disease

Gum disease can be prevented in several simple ways without necessarily spending too much on dental procedures.

On the other hand, it can cost you a significant amount of money, your overall health, or even your life, if you neglect gum disease and allow it to develop the following complications:

● Heart disease

If you have gingivitis that is untreated, it could lead to heart disease. This happens because the bacterial build up in the gums can leak into the bloodstream. If this happens, the antibodies and platelets will be activated to kill and contain the infection.

Some gum bacteria that leak into the bloodstream may form calcified plaques and blood clots in the walls of arteries and smaller blood vessels of the heart as they react to the antibodies and platelets.

● High blood pressure and stroke

The blood flow will be impeded and blood pressure will increase. As a result, the heart will have to work harder but, at the same time, will be deprived of oxygen. Meanwhile, the clogs in the arteries could be dislodged and lead to stroke.

● Pre-term labour

Untreated gum disease is also linked to higher risk of premature labour and possible miscarriage of foetuses. When the blood is infected by bacteria from the gums, the body releases inflammatory chemicals that may trigger premature birth.

Preventive measures

Here are some ways you can prevent gum disease and avoid its complications.

1. Correctly brushing teeth

Correctly brushing your teeth may seem to be very simple, but many people do not practice it. This first line of defence is usually ignored either because of laziness or because of ignorance. Most people brush teeth at least once a day, but few brush their teeth thoroughly, including the gums and the tongue.

Basically, the correct way of brushing should be to brush from side-to-side, up and down, and include circular motion. The gums and tongue must also be brushed. You may use an electric toothbrush for easier brushing.

2. Using dental floss

The tight spaces in between teeth are inaccessible to a toothbrush. You need to use dental floss to clean these areas. Form a C-shaped half loop around each teeth and move the floss up and down while alternately pulling the string from left to right.

Use a long piece of floss of at least 18 inches in length. Use the clean portion of the floss as you move from one tooth to the next. You should gargle after flossing. This will remove any food debris in your mouth dislodged by the dental floss from between the teeth.

3. Gargling mouthwash or salt water

Regularly gargling mouthwash can be done at least once a day, particularly in the evening, to slow down the bacterial cell divisions while you are sleeping. Choose a mouthwash with anti-bacterial properties.

However, the downside of this is that some strains of bacteria may develop some resistance to the mouthwash. Consult a dentist on what type of mouthwash you should use and how often you should use it.

Not all bacteria in the mouth are bad and should be eliminated. If you are not sure about using commercially available mouthwash products, you may use salt water as alternative.

4. Avoiding or minimizing sugary food

The link between eating sweets and tooth decay and gum disease is very obvious. Sugary food like doughnuts, ice cream, chocolate bars and cakes promote the bacterial population growth. The sugar is broken down by the bacteria to release energy and, in the process, acidic metabolic wastes are released.

People with diabetes are also very susceptible to gum infections because of the high level of sugar in their saliva. It is actually a vicious loop of diabetes causing gum infection, and the latter making the former worse.

As such, you should avoid overeating sugary food, or if you do eat sweets, do it in moderation.

5. Visiting a periodontist

You should visit a periodontist at least once a year to have a comprehensive evaluation of your dental health. Risk factors such as plaque level and bone structure will be evaluated and recommendations will be made.

On the other hand, you may also have a year-end executive medical examination to assess your overall health. Another option is to have your fasting blood sugar level checked to know your risks.

You can avoid gum disease and its complications by being more cautious and following some of the abovementioned preventive measures. If you are looking for dependable and cost-effective dental services, you may try 247 Dental. Book an appointment with our dentists either online or by phone. Your comfort and safety are assured.

Dr. Michael Letham is the owner and dentist at 24/7 Dental and Bayside Smiles. He graduated from Sydney University in 2000 with Honours, receiving the R Morse Withycombe Prize for Proficiency in Clinical Periodontics (gum treatment). Striving to provide a modern, holistic approach to dental care that is tailored to each individual's requirements, Mike's focus is on being thorough and meticulous whilst being caring and compassionate.