If you're like many people, you don't give much thought to your dental health until and unless you experience obvious signs that it's time to schedule an appointment with your dentist. Obvious signs may include toothaches, chipped or broken teeth resulting from accidents or sports injuries, teeth that are becoming noticeably loose, and red, inflamed gum tissues that are tender to the touch or even painful. This gum condition is called gingivitis, and it may or may not be accompanied by bleeding gums during or after brushing and flossing.
Gingivitis is an early stage of gum disease. Left untreated, it will develop into a far more serious condition known as periodontal disease. Periodontal disease can result in lost teeth, and in its advanced stages, it can enter your bloodstream and cause heart and central nervous system problems. Fortunately, gingivitis itself is easy to treat and can even be reversed if it's detected early enough. Here's what you can do to keep it from progressing to periodontal disease:
Watch Your Diet
The health of your teeth has a direct impact on the health of your gums, which is why it's essential to guard against tooth decay if you want your gums to remain healthy. Sugary foods and beverages are a primary culprit when it comes to tooth decay, so be sure to limit your intake of them. If you like sweet drinks, use a straw instead of a sipping them from a glass in order to minimize direct contact with your teeth.
Practice Good Dental Hygiene
Good hygiene practices cannot be stressed enough when talking about preventing the onset of gingivitis. You need to thoroughly brush and floss your teeth at least twice per day. Many people simply fail to brush their teeth long enough, so make sure you brush for at least two minutes. Try to rinse your mouth with clean water after your noon meal if you aren't home to brush and floss. Using an antibacterial mouthwash is also advised.
See Your Dentist Every Six Months
Gingivitis sometimes sneaks up with little or no warning, and your dentist can spot subtle signs and recommend a course of treatment before you experience noticeable symptoms. Your family dentist will also provide you with a professional teeth cleaning during your semiannual visit, which is important in minimizing the risk of developing gingivitis and other dental health conditions because it gets rid of residual bacterial buildup that at-home oral hygiene methods don't remove.