Hello from your team at Cosmetic & Family Dentistry of Weatherford!
Did you know that over 60 million Americans struggle with gum disease every year? September is National Gum Care month, and even though good oral care is important every day of the year, let’s take some time to review the importance of keeping your gums vital along with some ways for preventing gum disease.
The Importance of Gum Care
When most people think about their oral health, their teeth are the first thing to come to mind—but your gums are just as important! Gums protect your teeth by keeping the roots supported and protected, which encourages the teeth to function properly. Improper gum care can lead to gum disease, which in turn can damage your teeth!
The first stage of gum disease is gingivitis, which is an infection of the gums. It results from bacterial plaque remaining inside of the mouth and irritating the gums. It can sometimes be painless; other times it can cause bleeding, redness, swelling, and tenderness. Fortunately, this stage is still reversible with the help of professional dental cleanings and better at-home practices.
Periodontitis is an advanced form of gum disease that occurs when the toxins from bacterial plaque begin to spread from the gums down into the roots of your teeth and the ligaments that attach your teeth to your jawbone. This is a serious condition that can lead to total tooth loss and jawbone deterioration. Unfortunately, this stage is not reversible and professional care is the only way to get it under control. In some severe cases, periodontitis requires a referral to a specialist and potentially surgery to address.
Gum Disease Warning Signs
There are many warning signs to watch for that might indicate gum disease, including:
- Changes in how your teeth fit together.
- Red, swollen, and tender gums.
- Bad breath or a foul taste in your mouth.
- Gaps in the gums around your teeth.
- Excessively bleeding gums.
- Gum recession and tooth root exposure.
If you suspect you are developing gum disease, don’t hesitate to visit your dentist. The sooner that you’re evaluated and can begin treatment, the better your gum’s chances are!
Ways to Lower Your Risk of Developing Gum Disease
Luckily, there are several precautionary measures you can take to lower your risk of developing gum disease:
- Brush your teeth twice a day for 2 minutes each time using a soft-bristled toothbrush. Brush while holding the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your teeth and gum line.
- Don’t skip flossing; it’s just as important as brushing! You can also consider an antibacterial mouthwash; ask your dentist or hygienist for suggestions.
- Replace your toothbrush every 3 or 4 months, or sooner if you’ve recently been ill.
- Eat a well-balanced diet with plenty of vitamins and minerals. Vitamin supplements can also be taken.
- Visit your dentist every 6 months for regular checkups and cleanings unless otherwise specified.
There are sometimes other medical conditions that can affect your oral health, even including certain medications. Be sure to communicate with your dentist and inform them of your medical health and history—this can also be used to determine ways of lowering your risk for gum disease.
To request additional information or to schedule an appointment, feel free to contact Cosmetic & Family Dentistry of Weatherford online or by phone: (817) 594-3806.