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Did you know that nearly half of all Americans have gum disease? Gum disease, if left unchecked, can lead to bone loss, loose teeth, and even tooth loss. Here are some ways you can prevent gum disease and keep your teeth for a long time.
Know the Signs of Gingivitis
Gingivitis is the earliest stage of gum disease. When caught early, gingivitis can be turned around easily to reduce your chances of developing periodontitis, a more advanced stage of the disease. Symptoms of gingivitis include red gums, swelling, bleeding when you floss, and soreness in the gums. If you notice these symptoms, make an appointment with your dentist or dental hygienist for a professional cleaning.
Brush, Floss, and See Your Dentist Regularly
Gum disease is often caused by not brushing or flossing enough. If bacteria is left to sit on the teeth, it can get under your gumline and cause swelling and soreness. This makes it more difficult to get under the gumline to clean it properly, which causes even more soreness, swelling, and bleeding. It’s a cycle that can only be broken by improving your oral hygiene.
A professional cleaning will remove the plaque and bacteria under the gumline. From there, you’ll need to brush twice daily, floss each night before bed, and, in some cases, use an antibacterial mouthwash. Once your gums go back to normal, it will be easier to keep them clean, so don’t worry if it’s uncomfortable in the days following your cleaning. Just keep brushing and flossing as directed.
If you smoke, it’s likely causing gum disease. It’s difficult to quit, but you should do so to reduce the negative health implications. If you’re having trouble quitting, talk to your physician for help. In the meantime, be sure to brush and floss well to minimize the damage.
Watch Your Diet
Eating a lot of sugar and starches (like white bread and potato chips) can cause gum inflammation because the bacteria in your mouth are well-fed by these substances. This causes them to multiply. Also, these types of foods tend to stick to the teeth, causing decay and gum swelling. Be sure to sip water frequently and to eat foods like raw carrots, apples and strawberries to help keep your teeth and gums in good shape.
Seeing your dentist twice per year allows him or her to evaluate you for the early stages of gum disease so you can make changes before it’s too late. If you’re due for an appointment, give us a call!
Are you happy with your smile? When you look in the mirror, does your grin make you want to, well, grin? Too many people make it a note to smile with their lips closed or talk with a hand in front of their mouths because they aren’t happy with the way their teeth look. If this sounds familiar, we don’t want you to feel that way anymore! Check out some of the ways you can improve your smile in 2018.
If your front teeth are chipped, misshapen, or otherwise making you hesitate to smile, porcelain veneers might be the right option for you. Veneers can also close up a gap, called a diastema, between the front teeth in some cases. These fit over the outside surface of your front teeth, much like an artificial nail fits over your natural fingernail. The tooth will be prepared for a veneer, so it’s a permanent restoration; if it were to fall off, which is uncommon, you’d need to have it replaced.
Many people think that their chance for having braces has passed once they exit their teen years. This is not the case! Many adults have orthodontic treatment, including braces, throughout their 30s, 40s and beyond. You can have the metal type that most teens get, or you can use one of the options available for adults, such as lingual braces, porcelain braces, or Invisalign. Talk to your dentist about whether a referral to an orthodontist is needed.
If you aren’t happy with the shade of your teeth, then teeth whitening might be on your list of smile-brightening new year’s resolutions. Today’s bleaching agents are gentle, safe, and effective. You can use the type you find in your local pharmacy or you can have a tray fabricated by your dentist. Your dentist can help you decide what option is right for you depending on your budget, how much whitening you are looking for, and whether you are prone to hypersensitivity or gum irritation.
Give us a call today to schedule an appointment. We’d love to help you have a brighter and smile-inducing 2018!