September is National Gum Care Month and a great time to revisit the health and importance of the tissues that surround and support your teeth.
Gum disease is known in the dental world as periodontal disease. You may have heard of gingivitis — this is a mild form of gum disease that usually causes gum pain and bleeding. If left untreated, it can lead to a more dangerous form of gum disease, periodontitis.
Periodontal disease is an inflammation of the gums that in severe cases can lead to the loss of the tissues that hold your teeth in place which leads to tooth loss. Gum disease is caused by plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that forms continuously on your teeth.
Gums are the foundation of your teeth, so in order to keep a healthy smile, it’s crucial to look after your gums. Severe periodontal disease can also lead to much larger problems such as diabetes or stroke.
How to Keep Your Gums Healthy
Periodontal disease is a common problem in the US, with almost half of people over 30 suffering from gum disease. If you don’t want to be part of this statistic, you can follow our tips below to ensure you have healthy gums:
Regular Brushing: It’s important to brush your teeth at least twice a day (ideally after every meal) so that you remove excess plaque.
Daily Flossing: There’s a reason why we always encourage you to floss, because if you don’t, food can get caught in between your teeth and gums and the bacteria can cause gum disease.
Don’t Skip Your Dentist Appointment: Gum disease isn’t always painful, so it’s important to have checkups twice a year so your dentist can examine your gum health to ensure there’s no underlying disease that you are not aware of.
Professional Cleanings: As good as your oral hygiene might be, it’s also important to have regular professional cleanings. Our dental hygienists are experts in oral cleanliness to remove stubborn plaque and reduce the chances of you developing periodontal disease.
Stop Using Tobacco Products: Among all the other health issues smoking can cause, chewing or smoking tobacco can also increase the risk of periodontal disease.
Have a Healthy Diet: A low-sugar, and balanced diet can help ensure healthy teeth and gums.
Straighten Your Teeth: Patients that have crooked teeth often find it harder to remove bacteria from the hard-to-reach spots, so if you have the opportunity to straighten your teeth via Invisalign, we’d be happy to provide you with more information about how we can improve your smile.
Gingivitis can easily be reversed if you don’t delay treatment, so make sure you visit the dentist twice a year before it advances into something much worse. Remember that gum disease can go unnoticed as it’s sometimes symptom-free, but symptoms you should look out for include: red, swollen, or tender gums, bleeding when flossing or brushing, persistent bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth, or any change in your teeth alignment or the fit of partial dentures.
Don’t delay — make your dentist appointment with Dr. Karen Harriman at our Falls Church dental practice today!