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4 Everyday Oral Hygiene Tips to Help Prevent Gum Disease
According to the American Dental Association, around 42% of adults over 30 in the United States have some form of gum disease. While access to dental care has helped lower the number of patients who lose teeth to periodontitis, it is still a serious issue that the dental field faces. Gum disease is a largely preventable condition, and by educating patients on good oral hygiene and early detection, it can be reduced even more.
4 key tips for preventing gum disease
Staying free of gum disease involves diligent home care and regular preventive appointments. Many of these habits are already known by patients, but the dental team may need to give tips for implementing them into a daily routine.
1. Brush at least twice daily.
Brushing is essential for removing harmful bacteria and plaque from the gumline. Most people can get by with twice-daily brushing, but brushing after every meal is ideal. If a patient is predisposed to gum disease due to genetic or behavioral factors, a dentist may recommend that the frequency of brushing is increased.
The quality of brushing is just as important as the quantity. An electric toothbrush can help patients remove more plaque, and the recommended brushing time is at least two minutes. Some power toothbrushes have a built-in timer to assist patients with brushing for the appropriate length of time.
2. Floss once daily.
Most people know that flossing is necessary, but few actually follow through. A toothbrush cannot physically remove the plaque that is between the teeth, and over time, this plaque can cause periodontal issues. A patient can floss before brushing to make it a more consistent part of daily hygiene habits. It is especially important to floss after eating, and floss picks can be used on the go when needed.
3. Avoid high-risk behaviors.
While there are some genetic factors that cannot be controlled, a patient can avoid certain high-risk behaviors that increase the chances of acquiring gum disease. Smoking and poor nutrition can exacerbate periodontal problems, so it is important that patients focus on being the healthiest version of themselves. This is not only for oral health but also for overall health.
4. Visit a dentist twice a year.
For healthy patients, a twice-yearly checkup at the dentist is usually acceptable. Patients who have a history of gum disease or high-risk factors may see a dentist more often to detect any problems in the early stages. X-rays and periodontal screenings may be utilized at these preventive visits so that gum health can be monitored over time.
While the fight to end gum disease will not end soon, educating patients on prevention and treatment are essential to reducing the number of cases in America. For patients who suspect they have gum disease, an appointment with a dentist for a full periodontal evaluation is recommended. Now is the time to seek treatment; when it is delayed for too long, treatment options can be greatly reduced.
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