5 Healthy Tips to Prevent Gingivitis

If you’re worried about gingivitis and gum disease, you’re right to be concerned. Nearly half of American adults over age 30 and over 70% of seniors have some form of periodontal disease. 

Amanda Darling, DDS, and the team at Legacy Dental Care want to help you and your gums stay healthy. Our team offers comprehensive dental services to families in Ballwin, Missouri, including help for patients with gum disease.  

Dr. Darling also knows that prevention is often the best medicine. That’s why our team has curated our top five tips to help you prevent gingivitis and stop gum disease before it starts.

What is gingivitis?

Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease and is usually one of the first signs that gum disease is starting to develop. Many people experience gingivitis at some point in their life, but if left untreated, it can lead to bigger oral health issues and problems with your general health. 

Gingivitis is caused by buildup on your teeth. Each day, a sticky film called plaque forms on the surfaces of your teeth when the bacteria that naturally occur in your mouth combine with food, especially those high in sugar. 

If you don’t brush away the plaque as it forms each day, it hardens into something called tartar. Tartar forms both above your gum line as well as below it, and it creates a layer for harmful bacteria to flourish, leading to gingivitis.  

Symptoms of gingivitis are typically mild, but include:

How can I prevent gingivitis?

The good news is that gingivitis is something you prevent — and even reverse if you already have some of the signs and symptoms of the disease. Here are Dr. Darling’s top five health tips for preventing gingivitis:   

1. Practice good oral hygiene

The first step in preventing gingivitis is to practice good oral hygiene. While it may sound simple, brushing and flossing every day can be key to keeping your gums healthy. Brush at least twice a day to keep plaque from turning into tartar, and floss regularly to get the hard-to-reach places between your teeth. For added protection, use an antimicrobial mouthwash at least once per day.

2. Watch what you eat

The foods you put in your mouth have a dramatic effect on your oral health. And nothing works to prevent gingivitis better than a healthy diet. Sugary and processed foods and drinks increase your risk of developing gingivitis and other dental issues, like tooth decay. Instead, strive to eat a diet rich in plant-based foods that are high in vitamins and minerals. 

3. Sip water throughout the day

Hydration plays an important role in your overall health and in preventing gingivitis. By sipping water throughout the day, you help ensure you stay hydrated and you help your body produce more saliva. Salvia helps protect your teeth against the bacteria that cause gingivitis in the first place. 

4. Reach for foods high in vitamin C

Studies show that vitamin C is key in the prevention of many diseases — including gingivitis and gum disease. Vitamin C can also help reverse or cure gum disease when it’s already developed. Eat foods rich in vitamin C (e.g., broccoli, potatoes, citrus fruits) to help stop gum disease before it starts. 

5. Quit smoking

Smokers are seven times more likely to have gum disease than nonsmokers. If you smoke or use tobacco products, quitting not only helps your gums but also reduces your risks for many other health issues.  

What else can I do to prevent gingivitis?

In addition to the tips above, one of the best things you can do to prevent gingivitis is to schedule regular dental exams with Dr. Darling at Legacy Dental Care. Having your teeth cleaned professionally at least twice a year is an important preventive measure when it comes to gum disease.

Regular dental visits also give Dr. Darling the opportunity to assess your oral health and look for warning signs of any dental issues. Keeping an eye out for early signs of gum disease is essential, as gum disease not only harms your oral health but your overall health as well.  

If you’re ready to learn more about preventing gingivitis or have questions about dental care, contact Legacy Dental Care’s Ballwin office at 636-203-7519 and set up an appointment now.

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