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Welcome to Our Smile Blog


National Gum Care Month: Why Gum Health Matters

At Karen Harriman, DDS, every month is gum care month as we want our patients to understand the importance of gum health. However, as it is National Gum Care Month in September, this is a good opportunity to share some important information about the foundations of your teeth!

The function of your gums is not only to keep your teeth in place, but also to be a protective barrier against bacteria going into your mouth. If your gums are not well cared for, it can result in gum disease, or periodontal disease as doctors call it.

Gum disease can go from mild to severe, with gingivitis being the initial stage of the disease. The good news about gingivitis is that it can be reversible if caught early. Signs of gingivitis may include swollen or red gums and bleeding gums when you brush or floss. Another symptom which you might notice is persistent bad breath.

If you visit our Falls Church dental practice and Dr. Harriman notices these early symptoms of gum disease, she will advise you to do the following:

  1. Brush and floss after every meal, making sure to leave no food in between your teeth

  2. Come back regularly for your professional teeth cleaning

  3. Refrain from smoking - this is one of the biggest culprits in causing gum disease

  4. Pursue a healthy diet that is low in sugar as sugar feeds the bacteria in your mouth

If left untreated or undetected (if you don’t visit the dentist), you will suffer with periodontitis, the more severe version of gum disease. This usually results in loose teeth and gum pain. Apart from losing teeth, periodontal disease can also lead to issues such as diabetes or stroke.

Periodontal disease is a common problem in the US, with almost half of people over 30 suffering from gum disease. It’s important to be aware of the signs and make sure to book an appointment with your Falls Church dentist to review your gum health needs before it’s too late. Make your dentist appointment with Dr. Karen Harriman!


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