Proper oral hygiene is often taught when we are children, with emphasis on the importance of brushing and flossing to keep plaque and bacteria at bay. Yet, did you know that 75 percent of adults over the age of 35 have some sort of gum disease? According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, it is also the leading reason for tooth loss. Although the risk factors for gum disease vary, including smoking, medication, genetics, chronic diseases, and even stress, the number one risk factor for gum disease is poor oral hygiene. Many of us may feel that gum disease is inevitable, perhaps a disease that comes along as we age; yet, this preventable chronic condition results in tooth loss, quality of life, as well as other chronic conditions, such as heart attacks, diabetes, and strokes. With results such as these, it is imperative to practice good oral hygiene and health.
So, how does one practice good oral hygiene? Here are some tips that, if performed daily, can help prevent gum disease.
- Brush at least twice a day, most importantly, in the morning when you wake up as well as before bedtime. Also be sure to brush at a slight angle, attacking all sides of the teeth and gums. Make sure to purchase a new toothbrush every 2-3 months in order to get the full benefit from your brush.
- In order to reach between the teeth and down to the gum line, flossing must also be performed. Be sure to floss between every tooth, gently stroking it along the curve of the tooth. If flossing seems difficult, there are many interdental devices available that make it easier to insert between teeth.
- Be sure to use fluoride-containing products, including mouthwash.(Although mouthwash that includes fluoride is not recommended for children under the age of twelve.) Fluoride strengthens teeth, as well as prevents tooth decay.
- Eat a healthy balanced diet, especially limiting foods including sugar, which increases the amount of acid exposed to the teeth, breaks down enamel and furthers tooth decay.
- Regular dental visits, usually every six months, is also important to prevent gum disease. Patients with a higher risk of gum disease, such as those prone to cavities, or patients diagnosed with chronic conditions, may need more frequent dental visits and need to talk to their dentists to see what the schedule should be.
Using these healthy dental tips will lower your risk for gum disease and tooth loss, however, if you have lost one or more teeth, there is hope. Dental implants are the best way to replace those missing teeth; a visit to an Implant Dentist can restore your smile back to normal. By using root-based implants, the tooth (or teeth) attach to the bone, creating a permanent bond to the jaw line. Be sure to find a board-certified practitioner, like the experienced oral surgeons and prosthodontists, who perform dental implants , on a daily basis. They’ll get you back to feeling better and loving the smile that reflects back to you in the mirror!