Gum disease is a fairly common condition, affecting upwards of half of the adult population, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Although the disease is common and can have unpleasant consequences, including the need for surgery or the need to replace a tooth, plenty of people still don’t understand what causes it or what they can do to reduce their risk for it. Plenty of myths exist about the role taking care of your teeth and gums plays when it comes to reducing your risk for gum disease.
Learn to separate fact from fiction when it comes to taking care of your teeth and lowering your risk for periodontal disease.
Flossing Is Optional
When it comes to flossing, the great majority of people in the U.S. aren’t doing so well. Surveys have shown that less than 15 percent of the population flosses daily. About 10 percent of people skip it altogether. There are probably a number of reasons why people don’t floss, from simply forgetting to do it to not really knowing how. Some people simply don’t floss because they don’t think they need to.
But, everyone needs to floss and to learn how to do it right, every time. Flossing removes plaque and bacteria from between the teeth. When allowed to build up, that plaque can inflame the gums or lead to tooth decay. A dentist or periodontist can teach you the best way to floss if you are unsure if you’re doing it right.
It’s Good to Use Force When Brushing
The harder your toothbrush and the more forcefully you scrub your teeth, the better, right? Not necessarily. Most dentists recommend choosing a brush with soft bristles and using a gentle hand each time you brush. A hard-bristled brush can actually injure or damage your gums, leading to inflammation or causing the gums to pull back from the teeth. It’s better to brush your teeth for a longer amount of time than to brush forcefully and quickly.
Children Don’t Have to Worry About Their Teeth
Kids lose their baby teeth, so there’s no need to worry about taking care of them, right? Actually, the opposite is true. Most dentists recommend starting an oral care routine with your child as soon as he or she is born. About a third of children have some form of gum disease, so it’s not just something that affects adults.
Parents can help keep their children’s teeth and mouth healthy in several ways. They can wipe down the child’s gums after feeding from the time the child is born. They can start brushing the teeth as soon as they come in, then start flossing a child’s teeth once they grow closer together. It’s important to be on the look out for signs of gum disease in a child’s mouth, such as bleeding gums, gum recession or bright red gums.
Preventing Cavities Prevents Gum Disease
While practicing good oral hygiene can help reduce your chances of developing both cavities and gum disease, the two don’t necessarily go hand in hand. You can be completely cavity free, but still have gum disease. Since the symptoms of both can be very mild and barely noticeable, it’s important to see a dentist regularly for an exam and professional cleaning.
Bleeding Gums Are No Big Deal
Bleeding gums are often the first and only sign of gum disease. Your gums are more likely to bleed when you have plaque buildup. If you notice a bit of bleeding when you floss or brush, it’s a good idea to make an appointment with a periodontist right away. In the early stages, gum disease is fully treatable and reversible. The quicker you act once you notice bleeding, the better the outcome will be.
In the Miami area, Dr. John Paul Gallardo and Dr. William Lamas specialize in periodontal dentistry. If you think you have gum disease or simply want to learn more about it, contact their office for an appointment. They can examine your teeth and gums and let you know the best course of action. Call (305) 447-1447 today.