Everyone knows the importance of good oral hygiene. Since we were young, we’ve always been reminded to brush our teeth. But do you always heed these tips seriously? I bet, not everyone does.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Detection, nearly half of the adult American population or 47.2% of people aged 30 years and older have some form of gum disease or periodontal disease. This health problem is even more prevalent among older adults affecting 70.1% of elderly individuals.

If you notice fresh blood in the sink every time you brush, chances are you are among the half of the population with gum disease.

If not treated, bleeding gums can lead to infection and swelling of the gums called gingivitis. Continuous neglect of these symptoms can lead to further infection that can infect the gum line and even the bone (a serious condition known as periodontists.)

But here’s the good news: periodontal disease is a slow-progressing disease; hence, it is very much preventable and even reversible. With proper precaution and good oral hygiene, you can avoid getting gum disease.

Below we list down some of the best tips to prevent gum disease.

1. Brush your teeth properly

Regularly brushing those pearly whites is the simplest yet best way of avoiding or reversing gum disease.

But simply brushing your teeth isn’t enough. You have to do it correctly to get rid of tiny particles that get deposited between the teeth and promote the growth of disease-causing bacteria. You also need to use appropriate toothbrush to avoid hurting your gums. Your dentist or dental hygienist can teach you how to properly brush your teeth as well as recommend the right toothbrush and toothpaste.

Always brush after every meal, especially after breakfast and before going to bed. Don’t forget to brush your tongue as well. Just like your teeth, the tongue is a perfect environment for bacteria to thrive, so keeping it clean is vital.

2. Floss regularly too

Although brushing is good, toothbrush bristles have limitations. They can’t reach deep down those tight crevices. Brushing cannot completely remove every food particle and plaque trapped in between your teeth. Flossing regularly is important to get rid of these otherwise intractable plaques.

Unfortunately, some people skip flossing because it is difficult to do and requires time. While this observation is generally true, you just have to develop the habit of flossing at least once or twice a day to prevent gum disease. It’s a little sacrifice for a good dental health.

3. Regular dental appointment

Preventing periodontal disease requires the help of a professional. This makes it important to visit your dentist regularly for dental checkups.

Competent and experienced dental specialists can detect early signs of gum disease, thereby making prompt actions. During a dental checkup, your dentist examines your teeth, gums, bite, bone structure, and plaque level to see if there are any potential problems. Early identification of untoward signs can help resolve the problem before it turns into a major gum disease.

Dentists also use special equipment to remove tooth build-up that flossing and regular brushing can’t. They can recommend precautionary measures such as use of braces to prevent gum diseases.

There are also some factors that increase the risk of gum disease, such as diet, genetics, old age, pregnancy, certain medications, diabetes, and smoking. Without the help of a dentist, you’re certainly a candidate for gum or dental disease anytime soon. So, if you have any risk factors, you have all the more reason to see your dentist.

4. Use mouthwash

The oral cavity has numerous tiny spaces where disease-causing bacteria can thrive. Many of these microscopic spaces cannot be cleaned completely by brushing and flossing. This is why using mouthwash is paramount.

It is recommended that you use antimicrobial mouthwash after brushing. On the other hand, constant use of alcohol-containing mouthwash formulations is not often recommended as these formulations can cause mouth dryness thereby contributing to tooth decay. Take note that saliva is a natural compound with antimicrobial properties, so you don’t want to have a dry mouth.

5. Live a healthy lifestyle

Most of the time gum diseases result from poor health habits, such as consuming too much sugar, unhealthy food choices, and smoking. These unhealthy habits promote the growth of disease-causing bacteria in the oral cavity. Over time, it can lead to gum diseases.

By living a healthy lifestyle, you not only make your overall health better but you also prevent numerous gum diseases. A balanced diet with enough fruits and vegetables, avoiding sugary foods, and quitting smoking are a good way to start.