If you are like many people, you don’t mind brushing your teeth the recommended twice a day, but when it comes to flossing, you might skip it, thinking that brushing and rinsing with mouthwash is enough. Unfortunately, it isn’t, and if you don’t take on the full dental hygiene regimen now, including flossing, you could find yourself dealing with gum disease in the very near future.
What is Gum Disease?
Also known as gingivitis, or eventually periodontitis, gum disease is a condition where the gums have become inflamed and infected by bacteria. In most cases, gum disease will start off minor. For instance, you might notice bleeding of the gums or swelling around the tooth. If the situation does not improve, the gingivitis can turn into periodontitis, which is where the gums and bone will start to pull away from the teeth. Not only will your teeth begin to loosen in their sockets, the space where the gum tissue has pulled away can fill with bacteria and food, which will lead to infection. If not treated quickly, this can certainly lead to the loss of the teeth, but it can also cause stroke, heart attack and other dangerous health problems.
What is the Cause of Gum Disease?
Gum disease is primarily caused by the growth of bacteria on the teeth. When your teeth are not cared for correctly, such as by not brushing and flossing, a sticky substance called plaque forms on the teeth and gums. Bacterial is contained inside plaque, and the more food the bacteria get, the faster they multiply and eventually will cause the bleeding, swollen gums known as gingivitis. People who smoke, those who have a family history of gum disease, people on certain medications, or those with certain medical diseases like leukemia or AIDS may also be more at risk for gum disease.
Gum Disease is Preventable
Fortunately, this is one disease that you can prevent, and even reverse, with proper care. The best way to keep gum disease at bay is to make sure you have a good dental care regimen. At a minimum, it is important to brush your teeth at least two times a day, and make sure to floss once a day. If you want to go the extra mile, brush and floss following each meal. Even rinsing with water following a meal can help; just don’t skip brushing and flossing.
You can also help to prevent gum disease by making sure you see a dentist at least two times a year, and if you have certain risk factors for gum disease, you may want to see the dentist more often. Because gum disease is preventable as well as reversible, at the first sign of problems, you should start to pay more attention to your home dental care, and seek the assistance of a professional if any of your teeth begin to loosen. By working hard and making an appointment with a dentist right now, you can save your teeth and gums and maintain a gorgeous smile.