As your Gresham cosmetic dentist, Dr. Daniel Ries hopes that every patient honestly asks and answers the question – Are you taking the same care with the health of your teeth and gums as you do the rest of your body?
For many individuals, an honest answer to that question would be no. Nearly 50 percent of adults over the age of 30 in the U.S. suffer from periodontal disease – a severe form of gum disease -, a number that jumps to over 65 percent in adults 65 and older. Unfortunately, the impact that gum disease has on the public health is rarely discussed outside of the dentist’s office, even though 2.5 times as many patients suffer from gum disease than diabetes.
A healthy smile can do wonders for your appearance and your overall health. Studies have found that a great looking smile can make you feel more attractive, lower levels of stress, improve your overall mood, and make you look younger in appearance. In contrast, gum disease and cause increased social anxiety and prolonged discomfort from the loss of teeth and persistent bad breath.
Despite the benefits, many patients simply don’t take enough care of the gums. A 2015 survey from the American Academy of Periodontology found that 27 percent of adults in the U.S. actually lie to their dentist regarding how frequently they floss. The study also found that 14 percent would actually rather clean their toilet rather than spend time flossing.
While the results of this study boggle the mind, you can take steps towards having healthier gums by following these five simple tips.
- Brush twice a day and floss daily. The American Dental Association recommends brushing for at least two minutes each time you brush. While you should ideally brush after each meal, you need to at least brush once in the morning and again before bed. You also need to floss at least once a day to remove harmful bacteria and food particles from areas of your mouth easily missed during brushing.
- Visit Your Gresham Dentist. Regular dental checkups and cleanings help to keep your teeth and gums healthy for a lifetime. Regular exams provide Dr. Ries the opportunity to spot any signs of decay early on while still easily treatable. Frequent cleanings provide our staff of gentle dental hygienists with the chance to remove plaque deposits from the surface of your teeth and below the gum line.
- Eat a balanced diet. Diets high in sugar contribute to poor gum health by providing harmful oral bacteria with the fuel it needs to cause decay. Plaque – a sticky biofilm – transforms the sugars we eat into corrosive acids that slowly erode away tooth enamel. By eating a more balanced diet full of healthy fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, you can limit the amount of sugar you consume.
- Know the symptoms of gum disease. During the early stages of gum disease, some common symptoms can develop that can provide a clue about the current state of your oral health. If you suffer from gingivitis – an early form of gum disease – you may experience common symptoms like red, inflamed, or tender gums, or gums that bleed easily after brushing. If you notice any of these symptoms, you need to schedule an appointment with Dr. Ries immediately before the condition becomes worse.
- Consider switching to an electric toothbrush. While studies have shown that using a manual toothbrush can help protect your oral health, electric brushes offer a variety of features that make it easier than ever to correctly brush. Many electric brushes feature timers that ensure you brush for long enough, pressure sensors that keep you from brushing with too much force, and oscillating heads that correctly mimic the right brushing motion.
By following these simple tips, you can enjoy a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums that will keep you smiling brightly now and into the future. If you have any questions about the best practices for keeping your gums healthy, feel free to ask your Gresham dentist, Dr. Ries, during your next appointment at Gresham Smile Designs.