Our parents always told us to brush our teeth to avoid cavities, but a recent study suggests there could be greater health risks to neglecting our mouths. Conducted by a group of investigators at State University of New York, the findings of this new study suggests that gum disease can increase the risk of cancer in older women.
Examining self-reported data between 1999 and 2003, researches evaluated the cases of over 65,000 older women and found that a history of periodontal disease put patients at a greater risk for developing cancer.
Considering that advanced periodontal disease is also associated with an increased risk of stroke, diabetes, and heart disease, preventing it is critical to our overall health. Here are three practical steps you can take to fight gum disease today.
According to the American Dental Association, you should brush your teeth twice daily, especially before you go to bed. Plaque hardens within 48 hours but can begin damaging enamel within 24 hours. Because most of us sleep for 8 hours, unless we’re having sleeping issues, this becomes a perfect opportunity for plaque to wear away enamel and damage your gums.
To most effectively brush, make gentle circular motions at a forty-five degree angle perpendicular to your gumline, and brush for at least two minutes. If you’ve never been good at brushing, consider switching to an electric toothbrush. An electric toothbrush can also help if arthritis is affecting your grip.
Don’t Forget To Floss
Brushing can’t effectively reach the places where gum disease forms: between our teeth, and below the gum line. This is why flossing regularly is so important to preventing gum recession and gum disease.
Flossing with perfect technique can be tricky, but try to touch all surfaces surrounding a tooth. Start with about fifteen inches of floss, gently insert between your teeth, curve floss around the base of your first tooth, and maneuver floss in a waxing motion, dipping beneath the gumline periodically.
Avoid Foods High in Starch
Foods high in starch put your gums at significant risk. When you chew foods such as white bread, your saliva breaks down food particles into a gummy paste-like substance that gets stuck between teeth and in the gumline. This then feeds mouth bacteria which convert these sugars into acid. The acid can attack your gums and your teeth, creating space for bacteria to colonize.
If you’re concerned about gum disease, perhaps the best deterrent is regular checkups and cleanings with your dentist. By scheduling regular checkups, you and your dentist can spot issues before they become major complications. If early gum disease is detected, there are several treatment options available. The more advanced the disease becomes, the more difficult it is to treat.
At the office of Dr. Clements, we want to do everything we can to help you stay healthy. To schedule your next appointment with Dr. Clements in Valdosta, GA, please call (229) 242-5511 today.