We are open - safety is our top priority!
Posted on: September 1, 2022
Gum Care Awareness Month
Live Long and Prosper With Healthy Gums
September is Gum Care Awareness Month, but when you take proper care of your gums all year long, you can have a longer, healthier, and more prosperous life for good.
Most people take gum health for granted, but it’s inextricably linked to your good physical health as well as your self-confidence and self-esteem. No one wants to smile when they’re missing teeth and have gum disease, so your personal life can suffer as well as your professional life when you don’t have good gum health. Gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease, is the leading cause of tooth loss in those who are 35 and older.
Poor oral health, specifically gum disease, has been linked to many serious health diseases, such as:
- Cardiovascular Disease
Unfortunately, the bacteria and inflammation that happen with gum disease can travel throughout your body and attack your major organs. The membranes and tissues in your mouth are very porous and permeable, so anything that goes into your mouth will go into the rest of your body, including your major organs, via your bloodstream.
Keeping your gums in top shape requires the help of a dentist! Make your appointment for a dental cleaning today.
How Do I Maintain Good Gum Health?
Fortunately, maintaining good gum health is easy. It requires no specialized equipment or testing, and you probably already have everything you need for it. If you don’t, you can easily obtain most items.
If you already brush and floss your teeth, then you’re all set to maintain good gum health because the same habits and routines that keep your teeth healthy will also keep your gums healthy. The American Dental Association recommends that you brush and floss at least twice each day and that you get at least annual dental checkups. Semi-annual checkups are better.
Ideally, you should brush and floss after each meal or snack, but that’s not always feasible, so brush at least twice daily, and one of those times should be immediately before bedtime. Don’t eat or drink anything but plain water after your bedtime routine. This is also a good time to use an antibacterial mouthwash; regular or non-alcoholic work equally well. You should already have the following:
- A quality, soft-bristled toothbrush that’s appropriately sized for your mouth
- Quality toothpaste, regular or gel doesn’t matter
- Dental floss, either traditional dental floss, a floss pick, or a flosser
When you brush, be sure to brush your tongue. If you brush your tongue only once daily, it should be during your nightly routine. Although it sounds and feels odd, brushing your tongue can remove the bacteria that lodge on its rough surface, so you’ll have fewer bacteria on your gums and teeth during the night.
Ready to start your journey to clean, healthy gums? Call today to schedule your next dental appointment.
Are There Symptoms of Gum Disease?
Fortunately, gum disease doesn’t just appear; there are signs and symptoms, although they may be mild. If you notice minor bleeding when you brush or floss, then you may have gum disease. No matter how assiduously you maintain your good oral hygiene habits, things can sometimes happen.
If you notice any of the following seven symptoms of gum disease, you should schedule a dental appointment without delay:
- Bad breath or an unusual taste in your mouth
- Inflamed, swollen areas on your gums
- Infection or pus between your teeth
- Loosened teeth or uneven gaps between your teeth
- Minor bleeding when you brush or floss
- Receding gums
- Red, swollen, or sensitive gums
Any or all of these indicate that you have an issue and should seek professional dental advice without delay.
What Are the Stages of Gum Disease?
There are three stages of gum disease, and they are:
- Gingivitis: The first stage of gum disease is gingivitis, and it’s the only stage that can be cured and the damage reversed. It’s caused by a buildup of tartar, which is a very hard substance that inflames your gums. Tartar can only be removed by a dentist. Brushing and flossing after a meal or snack can dramatically reduce your likelihood of developing tartar because it removes the bacteria that cause gingivitis. If you notice minor bleeding or any other of the above symptoms during your oral hygiene routine, you probably have gingivitis. Schedule a dental appointment without delay, and ask your dentist for tips on preventing its recurrence.
- Periodontitis: Periodontitis is the second stage of gum disease. If you didn’t address gingivitis when it occurred, then you’ll probably develop periodontitis. Periodontitis cannot be cured, and the damage can only be repaired; it can’t be reversed. The progression can only be halted through expensive and invasive techniques such as antibiotics, scaling, and root planing. Although you can restore functionality to a point, you’ll need reconstructive dentistry or oral surgery to regain the full use of your teeth and gums. If you’re in any stage of gum disease, you should seek professional treatment without delay to minimize further damage and restore gum and tooth health.
- Advanced Periodontitis: The third and final stage of gum disease is advanced periodontitis. By this time, you’ll have permanent, irreparable damage to your facial structure, your jawbone, and the ligaments that secure your teeth. Most or all of your teeth will have fallen out, and your facial structure may appear to have melted. The only recourse at this point is reconstructive dentistry and oral surgery. Your surgical options may include bone grafts and other expensive and invasive procedures to restore functionality and structural integrity to your face and jaw.
It’s sad that all this can be prevented by brushing, flossing, and yearly dental visits, but that’s the fact. Don’t become one of these statistics. Schedule your dental appointment without delay.
Do You Need an Appointment?
If you haven’t seen a dentist in a while, there’s no better time than now to schedule an appointment. We recommend that all our patients over 18 get screened for oral cancer. This insidious disease usually presents asymptomatically so that you may have it for a while but not know it until it has spread. The screening isn’t painful or invasive, and your dentist will conduct the screening during your exam. To schedule an appointment, call College Park Dental at (301) 238-7083, and we can help you.
Keep your gums healthy and free of disease for life. Call us today. You’ll be glad you did.