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5 Ways To Prevent Periodontal Gum Disease
File this under a shocking "did you know?" fact: 75 percent of the United States population suffers from some stage of periodontal gum disease, according to Artistic Touch Dentistry.
Think about that for a second, three-quarters of people in the U.S. are battling some stage of periodontal gum disease, and some are likely to not even be aware.
As it relates to oral hygiene, here's a troubling related fact: Our mouths are crawling with bacteria. These bacteria, along with mucus and other pesky particles, constantly form a sticky, colorless mass on our teeth, otherwise known as … you guessed it … plaque. If plaque is not removed, it can harden and form tartar. And tartar, if not treated, can lead to bigger problems in the form of gum disease.
What can you do to keep your teeth clean? Given these facts it may seem like a daunting task, but here are five tips that will keep your teeth and gums in tip-top shape.
Brush Those Teeth
Yes, it may seem obvious, but brushing your teeth regularly in between those regular dentist checkups can make all the difference. Aside from the obvious cosmetic benefits, brushing after meals helps remove food debris and plaque trapped between your teeth and gums. And though it may feel strange, don't forget to brush your tongue, as that is a prime hiding place for bacteria.
Floss, Floss & Floss
Flossing is an important part of any good oral health care routine. It takes bacteria colonies in the mouth about 24 hours to fully form, and flossing will hels remove food particles and plaque between the teeth and along the gum line that your toothbrush can't quite reach. According to the American Dental Association, flossing once a day will help you stay on course to keeping those teeth and gums healthy.
Grab That Mouthwash
Crest, Listerine, Scope, Dollar Tree variety — whatever the brand, think of mouthwash as the final punch to knockout that bacteria. In other words, rinsing your mouth with mouthwash will reduce plaque and rid your mouth of remaining food particles that brushing and flossing might have missed.
What's Your Risk?
How old are you? Do you smoke? Does your family have a history of poor oral health? What's your diet like? Depending on the answers to these questions, you may be more susceptible to periodontal gum disease. For example, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, the older you are, the greater the possibility; per Delta Dental, up to 30 percent of the population may be genetically predisposed to gum disease. Make sure to speak with your dental professional about these factors and find out if you are at an increased risk.
Musicians: Find A MusiCares Clinic
It's no secret that dental costs can escalate, especially if you don't have insurance. Here's an exclusive tip for musicians and those working in the music community: seek out MusiCares. The Recording Academy's health and human services charity produces a variety of dental clinics year-round and can provide you with a referral. Clinic services include offering comprehensive dental exams and consultations, complete X-rays and cleaning — all provided at free of charge to pre-screened, pre-approved music professionals upon establishing eligibility.
"Thank you so much for the dental cleaning in Detroit,” said a recent MusiCares dental clinic attendee. "I don’t have the dough to get it done on my own so to have people looking out for me means a lot."