Did you know there’s a disease that rarely gets talked about but affects over 50% of the American population? Gum disease is an infection of the gums that can lead to serious oral and overall health issues if left untreated. Because September is National Gum Care Month, it’s time to bring some awareness to this common problem. With the right information, you can keep your gums healthy and happy. Keep reading to learn more about gum disease and how you can prevent it.
What is Gum Disease?
Typically caused by poor oral hygiene, gum disease is an infection and inflammation of the gums. In its earlier stages, it can be completely reversed with a good at-home brushing and flossing routine as well as regular dental checkups and cleanings. However, if left untreated, gum disease can cause permanent damage to your gum tissue, bone, and teeth. What’s even more concerning is that this infection has now been linked to serious overall health issues. In fact, studies show that gum disease can raise your risk of heart attack and other cardiovascular problems by 20%. It also increases your chances of diabetes, stroke, certain cancers, and even Alzheimer’s.
What Symptoms Should You Look Out For?
Because gum disease can be stopped and even reversed in its earlier stages, it’s important to be able to recognize these common symptoms:
- Tender or sensitive gums
- Puffy gums
- Red or purple gums
- Gums that bleed when brushing or flossing
- Persistent bad breath
- Teeth that appear longer
If any of these warning signs sound familiar, contact your dentist right away for treatment. The sooner you can see a professional, the better your chances are of a full recovery.
How Can You Prevent Gum Disease?
Thankfully, the risks of gum disease and the infection itself can be completely prevented with these simple yet effective tips:
- Brush twice a day and floss once a day to remove plaque and bacteria from your gumline.
- See your dentist for routine checkups and cleanings, where they will care for and monitor the health of your gums.
- Add a nonalcoholic mouthwash to your routine for an extra layer of cleaning.
- Avoid poor lifestyle habits like smoking, tobacco use, and heavy consumption of alcohol because they raise your risk of gum disease.
Now that you know more about gum disease and some tips on how to prevent it, you can practice good oral hygiene for Gum Care Awareness Month and beyond!
About the Practice
At Brookwood Dental Associates, Dr. Michael Vener is our expert in periodontics who provides advanced treatments for gum disease when necessary. We also have 6 other dentists on staff to offer a wide range of dental services. For any questions, we can be contacted through our website or by phone at (215) 368-2424.