5 Tips to Prevent Gingivitis From Progressing to Periodontitis

Stop gingivitis before it becomes periodontitis.

The Slow, Severe Progression

Gum disease (periodontal disease) is a serious oral health condition that can eventually lead to tooth loss. However, it starts slow. Gingivitis is the first stage, and it causes little more than bad breath. As it progresses to gum infection (periodontitis), severe symptoms quickly appear. Here are some steps you can take to stop that progression.

1. Prioritizing Excellent Oral Hygiene

Gingivitis is caused by the buildup of bacteria in your mouth. These bacteria metabolize food and release the foul odor associated with gingivitis. They also secrete acid, which causes tooth decay. Bacteria are always present in your mouth, but proper oral hygiene helps manage their numbers.

Proper brushing and flossing prevent plaque from accumulating on your teeth. Plaque provides the perfect environment for bacteria to grow and is likely to form at the base of teeth near the gumline. This allows bacteria to penetrate the gumline and cause gum infection.

The best way to prevent plaque accumulation is to brush twice daily and floss at least once. Brushing harder or faster doesn’t help. Instead, you need to make sure to brush for at least two minutes to achieve maximum coverage. An antimicrobial mouthwash can also help manage bacteria but isn’t a replacement for brushing.

2. Getting Regular Dental Check-Ups and Cleanings

Regular dental check-ups and teeth cleaning are essential to preventing gum disease progression. Most people should visit their dentist once every six months unless they have instructions to go more often.

Having regular check-ups helps ensure that oral health issues like gum disease don’t progress too far without being noticed. Gum disease often shows few symptoms until it has become very serious. However, your dentist can identify signs immediately during a check-up and recommend interventions or treatment options.

Teeth cleaning is also vital. Your dentist uses tools to remove accumulated plaque from areas you might have missed. They also remove tartar, which is a hardened form of plaque that routine brushing can’t handle effectively. Doing this every six months helps manage bacteria levels in your mouth to prevent gum disease.

3. Maintaining a Balanced Diet

What you eat also has a major impact on your oral health. Bacteria thrive on sugary foods that they can easily digest. If your diet is made up largely of sugary treats, you’re at increased risk of both gum disease and tooth decay. Sticky snacks are even worse, as they leave behind residue for bacteria to eat.

Avoiding sugary foods isn’t the only consideration when it comes to gum disease prevention. You also want to maintain a varied diet that meets all of your nutritional requirements. This supports a healthy immune system, which can help stop gum disease from taking hold. Vitamin C, vitamin D, and zinc are all important nutrients that support gum health.

4. Kicking the Smoking Habit

Chances are you’re already aware that the general medical consensus is that smoking is bad for you. However, are you aware of how it impacts gum health? Smoking is among the leading risk factors for gum disease, along with a wide range of other oral health issues.

In general, smoking can weaken the immune system and make it more difficult to prevent and recover from gum infection. Smoking also leads to a condition called dry mouth, where you experience reduced saliva production. Saliva has natural antibacterial properties, so this condition encourages bacteria to thrive and grow out of control.

5. Managing Systemic Health Conditions

There are also a variety of systemic health conditions that can increase your risk of gum disease. One of the most prominent examples is diabetes. Patients with diabetes tend to produce less saliva, leading to the same dry mouth issue as smoking. However, a lack of blood sugar level regulation also means higher glucose levels in saliva, which makes your mouth even more prone to bacteria growth.

Any condition that impacts the immune system will also increase the risk of gum infection. Hormonal changes are also associated with an increase in gum disease. This is particularly notable in pregnant women, who frequently develop temporary gingivitis during pregnancy and are back to normal quickly afterward.

Getting Proactive About Gum Disease

Stopping gingivitis from progressing to periodontitis is vital to ensure your long-term oral health. You can make significant progress by making a few simple lifestyle changes and keeping up with routine visits to your dentist near Greensboro, NC.

Farless Dental Group is your local family dentist for gum disease prevention and treatment. Routine visits help catch gum disease early, and we offer soft-tissue laser oral surgery. Whether you need prevention or treatment, schedule your next appointment today to get started.