Gum disease is a serious condition that can have lasting effects, not only on your dental health but on your overall health as well. Alongside receding gums, abscesses, and tooth loss, gum disease can increase your risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and even pregnancy problems. Fortunately, there are many ways to prevent advanced gum disease from taking hold in your mouth; here are five of the best.
1. Eat more vegetables
Vegetables are a great way to keep your gums healthy while feeding the rest of your body nutrients. Fiber-rich vegetables like broccoli and parsnips clean your teeth and increase saliva production, washing away bacteria. On top of that, brightly coloured vegetables like red onions, bell pepper, and tomatoes are known to help fight inflammation, which tends to aggravate periodontal problems like gum disease. Alongside vegetables, you can get similar results from many legumes, beans, and even fruits — though be wary of the high levels of sugar in many fruits.
2. Use anti-microbial mouthwash
Mouthwash can help kill bacteria that cause gum disease, and the best part is that you don't need to buy a specially medicated mouthwash to get the best effects. Many of the high-quality mouthwashes at your local store will contain anti-microbial ingredients like chlorhexidine gluconate, stannous fluoride, and triclosan. If you do think you need a mouthwash with higher bacteria-fighting properties, ask your dentist to recommend maximum-strength options.
3. Try an electronic toothbrush
While there's nothing wrong with using a manual toothbrush, many people find it far easier to remove plaque with an electronic toothbrush. They use high-frequency vibrations to clean teeth and gums, removing plaque from every crevice. Bacterial plaque is the key cause of gum disease, so getting rid of as much as you can is essential in preventing gum problems.
5. Floss regularly
Flossing may seem time-consuming, but it's one of the most effective ways to reduce your risk of gum disease. Toothbrushes can only go so far, but thin floss has no trouble getting between the teeth to remove any last remnants of bacteria and food. If you have particularly big tooth gaps, you can also get the same benefits from using interdental brushes instead of dental floss.
5. See your dentist regularly
Remember that while all these at-home preventative methods work well, there's no substitute for seeing your dentist regularly. A trained dentist can spot the earliest signs of gum disease and address them before they develop. In general, you should see your dentist at least twice a year for a routine checkup and cleaning.