The bacteria in your mouth naturally form a film on your teeth known as plaque. Plaque can be easily removed by brushing and flossing daily. However, if plaque is not regularly removed it can harder into tarter, which can only be removed by dental professionals. Excess tarter leads to gum diseases such as gingivitis or periodontitis. The symptoms of gum disease range from a mildly painful swelling to the destruction of the bone and tissue that hold your teeth in place. Recent research by the American Dental Association (ADA) has also found that “there is evidence that bacteria in the mouth which are associated with gum disease may be linked to heart disease, artery blockages and stroke.” Here are 5 tips that we provide our Weston area patients to prevent this from happening.
1. Develop Good Daily Dental Habits
The easiest way to prevent gum disease is to prevent tartar from forming. Regularly brushing and flossing removes plaque before it can harden into tartar. In addition to brushing and flossing, we advise our Weston patients to follow the ADA guidelines and use an antimicrobial mouthwash to help remove plaque.
2. Maintain a Healthy Diet
Sugary snacks or drinks stick to teeth and provide nutrients to the bacteria that cause plaque and tarter. Switch to eating healthier foods and try to avoid sugary drinks when possible. Nuts, cheeses, and other dairy products are especially good for your teeth, as they can clear harmful bacteria away. Whatever your dietary habit, avoid bed time snacks, as they cause more plaque to build up on your teeth overnight.
3. Quit Smoking
Studies have found that smokers are up to six times more likely to develop gum diseases than non-smokers. Their gum diseases are also more likely to be more serious since tobaccos use reduces your body’s ability to fight infections and heal.
4. Drink More Water
Drinking water helps your mouth to produce more saliva, which helps to fight plaque buildup by diluting the toxins produced by bacteria. For most people, at least 7 glasses of water a day are required.However, older people produce less saliva and need to drink more water.You may also need to drink more if any prescription medications give you dry mouth as a side effect.
5. Visit Your Dentist Regularly
It is so critical to have a regular dental appointment, we recommend every six months for most of our Weston area patients.In many cases,gum disease will have no initial symptoms.Additionally,even if you floss and brush regularly, small amounts of tartar will accumulate over time.These deposits can only be removed by a dentist or dental hygienist.Your dental examination will discover any gum related problems before they have time to become serious.Having x-rays taken every 1 to 2 years is also important as this will allow our dental staff to see any bone loss caused by gum diseases.