The numbers don't lie — periodontal (gum) disease is a growing problem in our country. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that over 40% of adults in the United States over age 30 have some form of periodontal disease. By age 65, the number climbs to more than 70%.
What's even more upsetting is that many of those cases could have been prevented. That's where we come in.
Our team of expert dentists at Rifkin Dental has seen firsthand the effects of rampant, unchecked periodontal disease. We're dedicated to connecting our patients with the best information and tools to keep this pervasive oral health threat at bay.
Here are a few simple things you can start doing today to prevent periodontal disease later.
1. Manage your stress
We're starting with stress management because too many people don't recognize the threat unchecked stress poses to their oral health. When you're stressed, your defenses are down, and your immune system is compromised. That means your teeth and gums are vulnerable to infection and bacteria build-up, which can lead to periodontal disease.
Additionally, stress almost always causes you to clench and grind your teeth, a condition we call bruxism. Bruxism damages your teeth and gums and can open the door to periodontal disease.
2. Kick the habit
It's not easy to walk away from tobacco use, but it's one of the most critical steps in supporting your gum health. Whether you smoke or chew it, tobacco products increase the amount of tartar in your mouth, which can start the downward spiral toward periodontal disease.
On top of that, smoking restricts the amount of oxygen in your blood, preventing your gums from healing properly when they do become infected.
3. Mind your diet
Your diet is a key player in your oral health. Just like your heart and bones require something different from your diet, your teeth and gums also have unique nutritional needs. For instance, your gums thrive on a steady supply of vitamin C.
You can get vitamin C from fruits and vegetables like citrus fruits, bell peppers, tomatoes, and even white potatoes.
Making small adjustments to your diet can go a long way toward maintaining your gum health.
4. Get to know your toothbrush
If you've heard it once, you've heard it a thousand times: Brush and floss twice daily. It's not just a mantra we dentists love to say ad nauseam; it's often the best advice we can give. Bacteria, debris, and other threats accumulate in and around your gums every day, and they need your help to get rid of it all.
5. Don't be a stranger
The best news? You don't have to fight against periodontal disease on your own. During your regular dental checkups, we identify the earliest warning signs and help you be proactive about stopping the progression.
We also walk you through the best oral hygiene practices and answer any questions you have about your oral health.
If you have concerns about your risk for periodontal disease and need to be evaluated by one of our expert dentists, don't hesitate to request an appointment online or over the phone at our Carmel or Yorktown Heights, New York, offices today.