Gum disease starts when plaque builds up under and along the gum line. Plaque is a sticky film-like substance that’s filled with bacteria. It can reason infections that hurt the gum and bone, leading to gum disease and tooth decay.
The plaque also can cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Gingivitis reasons your gums to become:
- prone to bleeding
Gum disease is preventable. Here are a few ways you can help keep your gums healthy.
Floss at least once a day. This helps remove the plaque and food that’s beyond your toothbrush’s reach, according to the ADA. It doesn’t matter when you floss. Does it at night, do it in the morning, or do it after lunch.
- Get regular dental cleanings
Your dentist can identify early gum disease symptoms if you see them on a regular basis. Those way symptoms can be treated before they become more serious. It can also get rid of any plaque you missed when brushing or flossing. If you have gingivitis, brushing, flossing, and regular dental cleanings can help reverse it.
- Quit smoking
Yet another cause for smokers to quit: Smoking is strongly associated with the onset of gum disease. Since smoking weakens your immune system, it also makes it harder to fight off a gum infection; smoking makes it harder for your gums to heal once they’ve been damaged.
- Brush twice a day
Brush your teeth after every meal. This helps remove the food and plaque trapped between your teeth and gums. Scrub your tongue too, since it can harbor bacteria. Your toothbrush should have soft bristles and fit in your mouth comfortably. These can help reduce gingivitis and plaque more than manual brushing.