5 Ways to Lower Your Risk for Gum Disease

Nov 15, 2023
 5 Ways to Lower Your Risk for Gum Disease
Gum disease is a silent, progressive condition that can lead to severe oral health problems — including missing teeth. Learn how you can reduce your chances of getting gum disease and maintain a healthy smile. 

Are you concerned about gum disease? You have good reason! Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is an inflammation of the gums that can progress to affect the bone that surrounds and supports your teeth.  

Periodontal disease is stealthy, often showing no symptoms until it’s in a moderate or more advanced stage. Unfortunately, gum disease is a primary cause of tooth loss in adults. The good news? It’s largely preventable.

At Rural Health Corporation of Northeastern Pennsylvania in Nuremberg, Freeland, Falls, Hazleton, LaPorte, Noxen, Wilkes Barre, Shickshinny, and Edwardsville, Pennsylvania, our dental providers are dedicated to guiding you towards a lifetime of optimal oral health.

We offer comprehensive dental services, and we’re here to give you practical strategies to prevent gum disease effectively. Here’s what you need to know. 

1. Maintain a consistent oral hygiene routine

Consistent oral hygiene is crucial when it comes to preventing gum disease. The first step is to brush at least twice a day for two minutes, focusing on the gumline and using fluoridated toothpaste. 

You also want to make sure that you’re flossing daily. Flossing removes trapped food and plaque between teeth that your toothbrush can’t reach. To further eliminate bacteria contributing to plaque and bad breath, consider using an antiseptic mouthwash. 

Our team can give you personalized recommendations on how to improve your brushing and flossing techniques as well as which mouthwash, toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss products might be best for you.

2. Adopt a nutrient-rich diet and hydrate

Your diet significantly impacts your oral health. This isn’t surprising, since your mouth is where your food first enters your body. 

To avoid gum disease, reach for foods that are rich in antioxidants, vitamin C, and calcium, which strengthen your gums and teeth. Berries, citrus foods, and fortified whole grains are a great place to start. 

Also consider whether you’re eating enough dairy, dark leafy green vegetables, and fresh fruits. These foods combat bacteria that lead to gum disease and protect against infection. 

You’ll also want to stay hydrated. Saliva is one of your best defenses against the development of plaque. Be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep saliva production going. 

3. Avoid tobacco products

Tobacco is the enemy of oral health. Smoking, vaping, or chewing tobacco increases your risk for gum disease as it weakens your immune system, making it harder to fight off a gum infection while also slowing your healing process. 

If you currently use tobacco, consider speaking with a provider at Rural Health Corporation of Northeastern Pennsylvania about cessation programs. Our team can help you kick the habit and protect both your overall health and your oral health. 

4. Know your medications

Different medications can affect your oral health. Some cause dry mouth, reducing saliva, which is crucial for cleaning your mouth. If you’re on medication that leads to dry mouth, consider using a specialized mouthwash or chewing sugar-free gum to stimulate saliva production. 

If you don't know whether your medications affect your oral health, be sure to check with your healthcare team. We keep you informed about the side effects of your medications, or help you find a better option when necessary.

5. Schedule regular dental visits

Preventive care is essential when it comes to stopping gum disease before it starts. Regular dental check-ups and professional cleanings not only keep your teeth sparkling, but also allow your provider to identify early signs of gum disease. 

Early detection means easier management and treatment of any conditions that might affect your teeth and gums. Being consistent with your dental visits — or seeing our team every six months — means you benefit from a proactive approach to your oral health.

You can maintain healthy gums for life

Through regular visits with our dental team, you’ll not only prevent gum disease, but also promote better oral health overall, giving you a beautiful smile for the long haul. 

Ready to take proactive steps towards safeguarding your smile? Schedule your next appointment at Rural Health Corporation of Northeastern Pennsylvania in Nuremberg, Freeland, Falls, Hazleton, LaPorte, Wilkes Barre, Noxen, Shickshinny, and Edwardsville. 

Our practice takes multiple insurances and we offer a sliding fee scale for those who need it. If transportation is an issue, ask us about our complementary van service.