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Tips from your Michigan dentist on how to prevent gum disease


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Most people visit the dentist with concerns about the appearance of their smiles, or the discomfort of cavities. The health of gum tissue is a far greater concern as a person grows older. The gums are similar to our skin, protective of those structures that lie underneath. Damage from infection, however, not only threatens tooth and bone structure, but can also lead to serious health concerns such as an increased risk of diabetes or heart disease.

The best approach to gum disease is proactive. Catching the condition in the early stage of gingivitis means that infection can be eliminated for a return to optimal oral health. Once gum disease has progressed beyond this stage, it can only be managed, not reversed. How you care for teeth at home plays a large role in your ability to prevent gum disease. Dr. Bernstein, your Michigan dentist, recommends:

  • Follow the guidelines of the American Dental Association and brush your teeth at least twice a day. Brush for two minutes, with attention paid to every surface of every tooth, applying only gentle pressure. Overly aggressive brushing damages tissue and leads to gum recession. Choosing an ADA approved electric toothbrush can make this task easier.
  • Use a tongue scraper to remove bacteria from the back of the tongue after brushing. The bacteria can lead to bad breath and gum disease.
  • Chew gum that contains xylitol when you cannot brush your teeth after a meal.
  • Floss teeth daily, using whichever type of floss best suits your needs. Children should also learn to floss, and they tend to like flavored products. For hard to reach back teeth, a flossing tool or Waterpik may work best.
  • After brushing and flossing, rinsing the mouth with an antiseptic mouthwash will further inhibit bacterial activity, preserving teeth and gum health.
  • Eat a balanced diet that includes fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and limit sugary, starchy foods.
  • Avoid the use of tobacco products.


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