If you have persistent bad breath that won’t go away even when you chew on breath mints or rinse with mouthwash or if you’ve noticed that your gums bleed or your spit looks pink when you brush your teeth, you may be one of the millions of Americans living with gingivitis or gum disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly half of adults in the U.S. have gum disease and although many factors contribute you’re your risk for this serious oral health problem, you have it within your power to prevent it. Follow these three proven tips for preventing gum disease.
1. Attend Regular Dental Checkups and Cleanings
When you attend regular checkups and cleanings every six months, your dentist will check for the very earliest stages of the disease (known as gingivitis). If you are diagnosed with gingivitis, your dentist will recommend a treatment plan to fit your needs. Most people with mild gingivitis can halt the progression and even reverse the issue with improved oral health care at home. People with more advanced gingivitis or who have other risk factors (like smoking or diabetes) may be prescribed a special mouthwash that contains chlorhexidine.
2. Take Better Care of Your Teeth at Home
Your dentist is your best ally, but ultimately, the health of your teeth and gums is up to you. Good, consistent dental hygiene habits at home are the #1 ally you have in preventing gum disease. Luckily, taking good care of your teeth at home is simple and extremely inexpensive. Simply brush with an ADA-approved toothpaste for at least two minutes two times per day. Floss every night and use an antimicrobial mouthwash (preferably one without alcohol, to prevent drying out the mouth).
3. Quit Using Tobacco Products
According to the Journal of Dental Research, smoking cigarettes is one of the biggest predictors of gum disease in the U.S. and using any type of tobacco product (including chewing tobacco) will increase your risk for developing gum disease. When you stop smoking, your circulation improves, thereby enhancing the body’s ability to heal and fight gum infection.