Preventing Gum Disease and Gingivitis: A Guide for Oral Health

Maintaining good oral health is essential for preventing gum disease and gingivitis. Regular visits to the dentist or dental hygienist, brushing twice a day, and flossing once a day are all important steps in preventing these conditions. Brushing and flossing help remove food particles and bacteria before they harden into plaque, which can cause inflammation of the gums. Smoking in any form can weaken the immune system and hinder gum healing.

If your gums don't improve or continue to bleed after four weeks, it's important to see your oral health professional. At the dentist, they may take x-rays to determine if periodontal disease has affected the lower jaw. Treatment may include deep cleaning of the root surfaces of the teeth below the gums, medications, or corrective surgery. If left untreated, gingivitis can lead to periodontitis, a more serious type of gum disease that involves loss of bone mass in the jaw.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is working with key partner organizations such as the American Academy of Periodontics and the American Dental Association to improve and maintain surveillance for periodontal disease in adults. CDC efforts include developing measures for use in periodontal disease surveillance at the state and local levels, improving the validity of prevalence estimates derived from the NHANES (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey), and developing simple measures for the detection of periodontal disease in clinical settings. By following these steps, you can help prevent gum disease and gingivitis. Regular visits to your dentist or dental hygienist, brushing twice a day, flossing once a day, and avoiding smoking are all important steps in maintaining good oral health.

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