Your dentist does more than help you prevent cavities, they are also able to help you prevent or treat gum disease. While a cavity can cause you to lose a single tooth, gum disease can lead to the loss of all of your teeth. Gum disease in its early stages is sometimes called gingivitis. You may also hear it referred to as periodontal disease. Whatever you call it, working to avoid it entirely or to at least minimize its effects is a must. The following are some tips to help you avoid gum disease.
Brush the gum line
Many people focus more on brightening their pearly whites than they do on the gum line when they brush. The fact is that the most important part to focus your efforts isn't on the biting surface of the teeth, but right at the gum line where plaque can get beneath and cause gum issues. When brushing, hold the toothbrush at a slight angle, as opposed to perfectly perpendicular, to the tooth so that the bristles can gently sweep along and a bit beneath the gum line. This should be done on the front and back of each tooth to remove as much developing plague as possible. An electric toothbrush works exceptionally well for working out food and plaque along the gums.
Don't forgo flossing
Everyone knows they should floss, but most dentists are aware that it is a chore that is often avoided. Yet, it is still one of the most important things you can do to avoid gum disease. Try to floss at least once a day, preferably in the evenings so any food residue isn't allowed to sit under the gums overnight. When flossing, hold the string tight and gently move it between the teeth so it slips just along the edge, or slightly beneath, the gums. There can be some slight discomfort if you aren't accustomed to flossing, but this will stop if you make flossing a habit. If you just can't get yourself to floss, consider investing in a water pick instead. You can use the targeted, pressured spray of water to remove much of the same food and developing plaque that you would otherwise remove with flossing.
The most important tactic to avoid gum disease is to receive dental care services every six months for a thorough cleaning. By being proactive about your dental health, you can avoid a lot of discomfort and expense later.