It’s almost September, which means it’s almost National Gum Care Month!
Did you know, gum disease affects nearly 67 million Americans? September serves as a reminder to reflect on your oral health and commit to taking better care of your gums. Healthy gums help to keep teeth in secure and in place. When gums are damaged or diseased there is a risk of losing teeth.
Protecting and keeping your gums healthy is really quite simple; brush and floss every day and have routine dental cleanings with a dental team. By having regular dental appointments, built up tartar and plaque can be removed. Gums are also checked for signs of trouble and treated before bigger problems arise. Stick to a regular at-home oral health routine and balanced diet to give your gums what they need to fight disease.
Types of Gum Disease
Gum disease is broken down into two types: (the early stage) gingivitis and (the late, more dangerous stage), periodontitis. Both stages are caused by bacterial toxins leading to infection. In the gingivitis stage, gums can become red, swollen, painful, and bleeding. The later stage includes infection from inflammation in the gums, ligaments, and bone surrounding the teeth. This can potentially loosen teeth that either fall out or need to be removed from bone loss.
What is gingivitis?
We urge you to reach out to your dentist right away if you experience bleeding gums, find sores in your mouth, have gum pain or find yourself with an unpleasant taste in your mouth along with bad breath. Having your gums checked and treated right away is important to your health and keeping your natural teeth for a lifetime.
What is periodontal disease?
Advancing periodontitis involves rapid gum recession. Gum disease affects the rest of your health, not just your mouth. As a systemic disease, gum disease will spread through your bloodstream to other organs in the body, resulting in inflammation related to diabetes, heart disease and even autoimmune issues.
How to Prevent Gum Disease
Keep your gums healthy by brushing twice a day for two minutes each time, using a soft-bristled toothbrush (replacing when the bristles start to fray) and enamel strengthening toothpaste. Don't forget to floss and use an antibacterial mouthwash. Fend off dry mouth by staying hydrated throughout your day and chewing sugar-free gum or lozenges.
Additionally, if you have diabetes, be sure to control it, and quit tobacco use. Limit the sugar in your diet, and incorporate more nutrient-dense and vitamin-rich foods like fruits, vegetables and dairy products.
How to Treat Gum Disease
Treating gum disease is most effective when done in the early stage because treatment can reverse the progress of the disease. Preventive care supports your overall health most effectively.