Gum disease is still a major oral health problem that affects a majority of American adults. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as many as 47% of adults over age 30 have some type of gum disease. And it only gets worse with age: According to the CDC, 70% of adults over age 65 live with periodontal disease.
The good news is that contrary to what the numbers suggest, gum disease isn’t inevitable. In fact, preventing gum disease and protecting your teeth and gums well into old age is quite possible by following a few basic steps and setting up good oral hygiene habits.
At Manhasset Dental Arts, our dentists Dr. Elizabeth Abrams, Dr. Michael Abrams, and our dental team offer general and cosmetic dentistry services for the whole family at our office in Manhasset, New York.
Can flossing prevent gum disease?
If you’ve ever wondered whether flossing is really necessary, you’re not alone. In recent years, some media reports have even suggested that flossing might just be a waste of time and that your teeth will be fine without it. However most dentists — and your gums — strongly disagree.
While brushing and flossing after meals and eating a healthy diet will go a long way to protect your teeth from cavities, a toothbrush can only go so far when it comes to removing the bacteria that eventually turns into gum disease causing tartar and plaque.
As bacteria accumulate between your teeth and gums, it creates “pockets” and leads to gum inflammation. The first stage of gum disease is gingivitis, which causes bleeding when you brush your teeth, red and swollen gums, bad breath, and tooth sensitivity. If treated in time, gingivitis is reversible and usually doesn’t lead to lasting damage.
But as gum disease progresses, it causes permanent damage to the underlying soft tissue that supports your teeth and gums. Advanced gum disease (known as periodontitis) can ultimately result in tooth loss and put you at risk for other health problems in the future.
How to protect yourself from gum disease
Flossing helps to prevent gum disease by clearing away the bacteria that your toothbrush leaves behind. Along with brushing, eating a healthy diet, and going to the dentist every six months for regular checkups and cleanings, flossing is your best line of defense against gum disease.
Other factors like family history and using tobacco can also increase your risk of oral health problems. If it’s been more than six months since your last appointment, schedule a checkup as soon as possible to get on top of your oral health. If you’re dealing with gum disease, there are treatment options available.
For more information about gum disease prevention and treatment, contact us today to schedule an appointment at our office in Manhasset, New York.