The gums are one of the most vital parts of the mouth and play a crucial role to retain healthy teeth. However, in the absence of proper oral care and attention, anyone can become afflicted with gum disease. Gingivitis is the most common form of gum disease. Gingivitis is reversible and is preventable in most cases. However, if gingivitis is allowed to develop and remains neglected, it can take more a serious form of gum disease known as periodontitis.
Gingivitis can be prevented if we practice active plaque control for our teeth. Active plaque control includes regular brushing and flossing of the teeth, ideally at least twice a day. Thorough brushing of the teeth takes out plaque for the tooth surface wherever the bristles of the brush are able to reach. Flossing, on the other hand, helps to take out food particles and plaque from the gaps or spaces between the teeth, and beneath the gum line.
But even regular and proper brushing and flossing of the teeth may not be enough for maintaining healthy gums in the long run. It is recommended that everyone gets a professional cleaning of the teeth and gums at least every six months under the care of a dentist.
There are other measures also that can help to prevent gum diseases. A healthy lifestyle and nutritious diet may also contribute to the prevention, or at least retard the early onset of gum disease. Some of the suggested preventive efforts include the following:
Eliminate or cut down on the habit of smoking:
Many studies have shown the ill effects of tobacco on the gums. Smokers have a much higher incidence of developing gum diseases compared to non-smokers.
The human immune system tends to become weak if the person remains under constant or severe stress. It may curtail the body’s ability to fight off infections, including gum infections.
Maintaining a healthy diet:
Foods that are rich in natural vitamins and minerals, particularly fresh vegetables and fruit, can help to boost the body’s immune system, and slow down the development of gum infections.
Avoiding unhealthy habits such as clenching or grinding of teeth:
These habits tend to put the teeth-supporting tissues under severe stress, making it easier for the tissue to get damaged or prone to infection.
However, it should be remembered that while gum disease is preventable in many cases with the help of good oral hygiene and healthy lifestyle practices, it may not be preventable under certain situations. According to the American Academy of Periodontology, as many as 30 per cent of the American people may be genetically predisposed to developing some sort of gum disease. In other words, if a close member in your family has a history of gum disease, you too may be at a higher risk for developing such disease. The best approach may be to maintain excellent oral hygiene, a healthy diet and lifestyle, and diligent visits to your dentist for regular dental check-ups.