5 Tips on Avoiding Gum Disease

At Bridgetown Dental, our focus is on keeping your smile healthy. Since February is Gum Disease Awareness Month, we wanted to share a bit more about the disease and tips on avoiding it. If you are concerned about your gum health, don’t hesitate to give us a call at 503-809-4742 to schedule an appointment. We can treat with our wide range of solutions.

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a common condition that begins when bacteria in plaque begin to build up gums. Early-stage gum disease, called gingivitis, occurs when your gums become swollen, turn red, and bleed easily. Without treatment, this can lead to a more serious form of gum disease, which can lead to more serious damage to your smile and long-term health risks. The good news is that gum disease is largely preventable with daily home care and regular professional cleanings. We wanted to share a few key tips with you:

  • Brush Thoroughly

One of the most effective ways to prevent a gum infection is to brush your teeth thoroughly twice a day using gentle motions. Use a soft or extra-soft bristled toothbrush and replace it every 3 months when bristles become frayed. Brush for a full two minutes, focusing extra attention along the gumline to remove harmful plaque. Plaque is a sticky film containing bacteria that builds up on teeth and gums. If not removed properly by brushing and flossing, plaque hardens into tartar that can only be removed at the dentist. Brush twice per day to disrupt the bacteria and prevent plaques from forming and settling.

  • Floss Daily

Additionally, floss daily to clean between teeth where plaque hides from your toothbrush. Flossing removes plaque and trapped food debris before it can irritate gums or lead to more serious gum disease. Use proper flossing technique, gently rubbing the sides of each tooth up to where the tooth meets the gum. Do not snap floss down into gums, as this can cause pain and damage. If traditional flossing proves tricky, try alternatives like dental picks, tiny brushes, or similar items.

  • Get Regular Dental Checkups

Furthermore, visit our practice for regular cleanings and exams every 6 months. Even the most diligent at-home care leaves some plaque behind. Your dentist or hygienist will scrape off stubborn tartar around teeth and beneath the gumline and can detect early signs of gum disease. We can remove irritation before it leads to further gum damage, while also checking for signs of the disease. 

  • Avoid Tobacco Usage

In addition, quit smoking cigarettes or using chewing tobacco. Smoking is one of the top risk factors associated with gum disease, since it reduces blood flow to the gums. This allows more plaque to accumulate and irritate delicate gum tissues. Smokers tend to have deeper periodontal pockets where bacteria can grow. Chew tobacco places tobacco directly against gums, also introducing more bacteria. Kicking these habits improves gum health.

  • Watch for Symptoms

Watch for any signs that you may have early gum disease. Symptoms include gums that bleed easily when brushing or flossing, bright red or swollen gums, gums pulling back from teeth, persistent bad breath, and permanent teeth feeling loose. These markers could mean you already have gingivitis or periodontitis. Catching them right away allows for less invasive treatment.  At the first sign of trouble, see your dentist. 

Whether you haven’t had your dental checkup or you are concerned about your gum health, give us a call at 503-809-4742 for an appointment in Portland, OR. You can also online.