February isn’t just the month when we celebrate all things love; it’s also Gum Disease Awareness Month. Why not show your gums some love? Because your gum health is vital for a healthy smile (and body). Gum disease is linked to Alzheimer’s, cardiovascular disease, pneumonia, coronary artery disease, diabetes, liver cancer and rheumatoid arthritis.
Our goal this month is to promote good gum health and help you feel more motivated to take the best care possible of your gums. Did you know that harmful oral bacteria and germs can attack the supportive bone, leading to tooth loss? Your gums provide a barrier preventing harmful elements from getting through and attacking your teeth. Without healthy gums, you can actually lose your pearly whites!
Gum Disease Progression
Stage One: Gum Disease
Gum disease, when it invades your mouth, starts with a milder form (gingivitis), which crops up when bad bacteria make their way under the gums, leading to irritation. At this stage, you’ll often notice bleeding, irritated and swollen gums. Timely intervention can often reverse gum disease by taking good daily care of your treated gums as recommended by our dentist. If you ignore your gums at this early stage, they will continue to deteriorate.
Stage Two: Early Periodontitis
The beginnings of bone loss anchoring your teeth start to happen, even though you might not notice serious symptoms. The good news is this gum deterioration can be detected during your regular dental checkups, which is one of the main reasons why these visits are so important to keeping healthy teeth and gums.
Stage Three: Moderate Periodontitis
If periodontitis is left untreated, essential jaw bone and gum tissue are continually whittled away until you feel that your teeth are beginning to feel loose. Dental intervention needs to happen to manage the disease.
Stage Four: Advanced Periodontitis
This is the most severe stage of gum disease. You may notice your teeth feeling even looser, interfering with proper biting and chewing and making eating painful. Not only have the bad bacteria lingering below the gums spread into the soft tissues and jawbone material, but now they have traveled throughout your body via the bloodstream. It wears down your immune system, leaving you vulnerable to the illnesses we mentioned above.
Proactive Gum Care
Now that you are aware of the problems caused by gum disease, show your smile some love to ensure your smile looks, feels, and functions as healthy as possible!
- Brush your pearly whites at least twice a day for two minutes each session. Go the extra mile if you can by investing in an electric toothbrush that does a thorough job of removing dental plaque. Use soft bristles that are gentle on your gum tissue and around the gumline, and brush small circles on the front, back and crevices.
- Floss between teeth to get rid of food particles and bacteria between teeth under the gum line to prevent plaque and tartar buildup. It’s vital that you swipe the floss up and around the gum line of every tooth to catch any oral debris left behind after brushing.
- Schedule routine dental visits. Along with consistent daily oral hygiene maintenance, routine dental cleanings and exams are your main defense against gum disease. Deep cleanings maintain tooth and gum health and spot developing problems early.
This Gum Disease Awareness Month, why not show your smile the love it deserves for healthy teeth and gums? Now is a good time to schedule your next dental cleaning and exam. Our dedicated dental team loves helping patients get healthy, beautiful smiles!