Gum Disease (cont.)

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Can gum disease be prevented?

Gum disease is best prevented through proper plaque control. This involves brushing to remove plaque from the outer surfaces of the teeth and flossing to remove food particles and plaque from in between the teeth. Using a mouthwash after brushing and flossing can help by reducing the bacteria that cause gingivitis.

Besides these basic oral hygiene practices, there are other things that can be done to eliminate the factors that lead to an increase in gum disease:

  • Sleep/stress: The immune system is very important in controlling disease, and getting adequate sleep and reducing stress will help the body fight gum disease, too.
  • Stop smoking: Smokers are much more likely to develop gingivitis and periodontal disease, so avoiding tobacco should be the first thing someone does to achieve healthy gums.
  • Orthodontic therapy or braces: It is much easier to remove plaque from straight teeth than crowded, overlapped, and crooked teeth. Braces can make a big difference in having healthier gums.
  • Diet: Limiting the frequency of plaque-causing sugars and carbohydrates will help limit plaque. Eating a well-balanced diet will help keep the body's immune system healthy and ready to fight infection.

Is gum disease contagious?

While most of the factors that lead to gingivitis and periodontal disease are dependent on the individual, there has been some limited scientific evidence to affirm that gingivitis and periodontitis-causing bacteria can be passed down from parents to children and between couples.

REFERENCES:

"Gum Disease." Mouth Healthy. American Dental Association.

Asikainan, S., et al. "Can one acquire periodontal bacteria and periodontitis from a family member?" The Journal of the American Dental Association 128.9 (1997): 1263-1271.

Demmer, Ryan T. and Moise Desvarieux. "Periodontal infections and cardiovascular disease: the heart of the matter." The Journal of the American Dental Association 137 Suppl (2006): 14S-20S.

Meraw, S. J. and C. M. Reeve. "A case report: Treating localized refractory idiopathic gingivitis with Superoxol." The Journal of the American Dental Association 129.4 (1998): 470-472.

Neville, Brad W., et al. Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology. 2nd ed. Saunders, 2002.

Snider, J. "Green tea may promote periodontal health." The Journal of the American Dental Association 140.7 (2009) 838.


Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/13/2013

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