How to Guard Against Gum Disease This Festive Season
Oh, the holidays are quickly approaching. If you’ve been shopping recently, you may have noticed that the aisles have changed. Back-to-school supplies have disappeared and aisles are filled with Thanksgiving and Christmas delights. And with the change in season comes thoughts on how to stay healthy and fit amongst all of the sweets and delicious foods that tend to accompany this time of year. But have you ever given thought to how to protect your teeth during the holidays? Read on to learn more about how to prevent gum disease naturally this holiday season.
5 Strategies to Protect Your Teeth and Prevent Gum Disease Naturally
Don’t be controlled by the holidays. Instead, implement these strategies to protect your teeth and prevent gum disease naturally. You’ll be glad you did.
What is gum disease?
Gum disease, also commonly referred to as gingivitis, is the inflammation of your gums, usually caused by a bacterial infection. When left untreated, this disease can become a serious infection known as periodontitis. Gingivitis and periodontitis are significant contributors to tooth loss in adults. Thus, taking the appropriate steps to prevent gum disease naturally is critical to your oral health and your overall health.
1. Keep up with your daily oral hygiene routine.
Your daily oral hygiene routine is essential every day, but especially during the holidays. So, be sure to brush your teeth at least twice a day for two minutes each time using a soft-bristled toothbrush. Floss at least once per day, especially after meals where you have consumed items that can easily get stuck between your teeth, such as broccoli, spinach, pineapple, popcorn, and shredded meats. Be sure to floss gently, too, so that you don’t tear up your gums. And, finally, rinse at least once per day with a fluoridated mouthwash.
2. Avoid hard candies and chewy treats whenever possible.
We know that taffies, caramels, and candy canes are special treats during the holidays. But these treats are exceptionally bad for your teeth and gums. Chewy candies and sugary sweets leave a residue that causes damage to tooth enamel and leads to tooth decay. We already know that our mouths are full of bacteria. And though some bacteria are helpful, most bacteria are harmful.
These harmful bacteria combine with food, forming a soft, sticky film called plaque. The bacteria in this plaque leverages the sugar and starch in the foods and beverages that you eat and drink to create acids. These acids then eat away at the minerals on your enamel, causing the plaque to harden into tartar. And in addition to damaging your teeth, plaque and tartar irritate your gums and lead to gum disease.
3. Stay hydrated by drinking water regularly.
Though there are many different theories on how much water we should drink each day, we know water is good for our bodies. In fact, in addition to brushing and flossing our teeth daily, drinking water is one of the best things we can do to prevent cavities and gum disease. We can pretty much halt the build-up of plaque and protect our dental enamel just by drinking water throughout the day.
After all, plaque can’t build up in a mouth that is clean and well hydrated. So, drink up to wash away the residues that cause bad breath and lead to disease. Drinking water is one of the best ways to naturally prevent and guard yourself against gum disease during this festive season.
4. Get enough rest.
You might wonder how getting enough rest can help you prevent gum disease. But trust us on this one. A well-rested body tends to be a healthier body. A lack of sleep can lead to a weakened immune system. The T-cells that we generate when we are at rest help protect us from gum disease bacteria. So, be sure you are catching enough zzzzzzz and your gums will thank you for it.
5. Don’t skip out on your twice-a-year trip to the dentist.
If your twice-a-year visit to the dentist is due around the holidays, don’t let the hustle and bustle of the season give you an excuse to skip it. Those regular dentist’s visits help improve your smile and are critical in the prevention of plaque and tooth decay, which lead to gum disease.
Of course, we know that you likely have better places to be than at the dentist’s office, but these regular appointments are well worth it. Though your dentist can’t cure gum disease, they can help you to prevent it. Thus, these visits are yet another great way to prevent gum disease naturally.
What are the risk factors for gum disease?
Though poor oral hygiene is the most significant contributor to gum disease, other factors can make you more susceptible. The following are common risk factors for the development of gum disease.
- Smoking and use of tobacco products.
- Broken fillings that are left untreated.
- Use of oral contraceptives and steroids.
- Crooked teeth.
- Poorly fitted dental appliances.
- Genetic factors.
- Compromised immune systems due to illnesses such as HIV/AIDS.
How do I know if I have gum disease?
Your dentist is best able to tell if you are suffering from gum disease. But, some other telltale signs and symptoms can indicate you should request an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible:
- Red, tender, or swollen gums.
- Gums that bleed after brushing or flossing.
- Gums that appear to have pulled away from your teeth.
- Loose teeth in adults (adults should not have loose teeth).
- Pus between your teeth and gums.
- Sensitive teeth.
- Partial dentures no longer fit as they used to.
- Pain experienced when chewing.
- Halitosis (bad breath) that doesn’t go away after brushing your teeth.
The first remedy for gum disease is a visit to The Tooth Doc.
If you have gum disease or suspect you have gum disease, now is the time to take action. Though we have shared various ways to prevent gum disease naturally, sometimes you need professionals to help you gain control of a gum disease situation.
So, if you live in or near Omaha, Nebraska, request an appointment and let us help with an oral assessment to ascertain the severity of your gum disease. Together, we can come up with a gum disease treatment plan that will help you improve the health of your gums and prevent it from recurring.