Local dentist Alan Krebs, D.D.S., chief dental officer of Northwest Health, said taking care of your gums daily is important to prevent gum disease such as gingivitis.
“Gingivitis is the buildup of plaque and bacteria that causes the gums to be inflamed. That’s why it’s so important to not only brush your teeth daily, but to also brush your gums,” Krebs said.
There are also other measures you can take to prevent gum disease, such as flossing daily.
“If you’re not brushing your gums and if you’re not flossing or using any type of mouthwash then you probably have gingivitis. Those extra steps help to prevent gum disease,” Krebs said.
Pregnant women may be at a higher risk of gingivitis, Krebs said.
“They’re just at a much higher predisposition to getting gum disease. So we always try to emphasize to pregnant women to definitely still be brushing, but you got to be flossing every day as well,” said Krebs.
Smokers and tobacco users also have a higher risk of gum disease, even if they take care of their oral health daily.
“You can do everything home-care-wise that you can and it might come down to luck on your part, if you want to roll the dice with that, go ahead. However, any type of heavy tobacco use can lead to gum disease and ultimately bone loss,” Krebs said.
Krebs said there are alternatives for elderly people who may have trouble using traditional floss.
“There is a disposable flossing unit where it is a piece of plastic with a with a hook that attaches to it if you don’t quite have manual dexterity for it. Mouthwash can also be used as well,” Krebs said.
To learn more about gum disease, you can visit www.mayoclinic.org online.