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Gum Care Awareness Month

woman with healthy gums

September Is Gum Care Awareness Month

 Although many people aren’t aware of the fact, your gum health is integral to your good physical health as well as your good oral health. Statistically, gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in those who are 35 and older, so if you want a beautiful, healthy smile, keep your gums healthy.

Keep on the gum care track with a visit to your local dentist. Call today to schedule your appointment.

What Is Gum Disease?

 Gum disease is the inflammation and infection of the gum tissues, and it usually occurs as the result of poor oral hygiene. When detected in its early stage of gingivitis, it can be cured, and any damage can be reversed.

How Do I Make Sure My Gums Are Healthy?

 Fortunately, you don’t need special tests or equipment to maintain good gum health. All you need is the equipment you already have, or at least you should already have. If you don’t, then make a dental appointment without delay. The items you need to maintain good gum health include:

  • A soft-bristled, quality toothbrush that’s correctly sized for your mouth
  • Quality toothpaste
  • Dental floss, either floss picks, a flosser, or traditional floss
  • Antibacterial mouthwash, either regular or alcohol-free

Although the American Dental Association states that mouthwash is optional, it’s an excellent way to eliminate residual bacteria from your mouth, especially when you use it just before bedtime.

The ADA also recommends that you brush and floss at least twice daily, and one of those times should be just before bedtime. Avoid eating or drinking anything but plain water after your nighttime routine. You should also consider brushing your tongue. Although many people don’t, it’s an excellent method for removing bacteria that may lurk on the rough surface of your tongue.

Ideally, you should brush and floss after every meal or snack, but if this isn’t feasible, then at least rinse your mouth with plain water.

How Do You Know If You Have Gum Disease?

 Usually, gum disease starts as slight bleeding when you brush or floss. Other symptoms can include:

  • Bad breath or an odd taste in your mouth
  • Receding gums
  • Inflamed or swollen areas on your gums
  • Infection or pus between your teeth
  • Loosened teeth or odd gaps between your teeth
  • Swollen, red, or sensitive gums

 If you have any or all of the above, then you may have gum disease, or it may be another dental issue, but you shouldn’t ignore any of these symptoms because they won’t go away without proper treatment. Your dentist is your staunchest ally in maintaining good gum health, so make sure to enlist their help.

Does Gum Disease Have Stages?

There are three stages of gum disease, but only the first stage of gingivitis is curable and the damage reversible. The three stages of gum disease are:

  1. Gingivitis: Gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease, is caused by poor oral hygiene. It’s due to a buildup of tartar, which occurs as the result of allowing bacteria to remain on your teeth and cause plaque. Tartar is a very hard substance that inflames your gums and can only be removed by a dentist. Brushing and flossing after each meal or snack and just before bedtime can dramatically reduce your likelihood of developing gingivitis. However, gingivitis can be cured, and any damage can be reversed. If you notice minor bleeding during your oral hygiene routine, you probably have gingivitis, so schedule a dental appointment right away since gingivitis is relatively easy to cure. Ask your dentist how you can prevent its recurrence.
  2. Periodontitis: Periodontitis is the second stage of gum disease, and it’s the result of ignoring the first stage of gingivitis. Periodontitis cannot be cured, and any damage caused can only be repaired; it can’t be reversed. Its progression can only be halted, so you need to be assiduous in your future oral hygiene habits so that it doesn’t start again. Procedures typically include expensive, time-consuming, and invasive techniques such as antibiotics, scaling, and root planing. Although you can restore functionality to a point after you have periodontitis, 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 the damage and restore your oral health.
  3. Advanced Periodontitis: Advanced periodontitis, the third and final stage of gum disease, will occur if you ignore the first two stages. By this time, you’ll have caused permanent and irreparable damage to your jawbone, your facial structure, and the ligaments that secure your teeth. Your face may appear as though it has melted, you’ll have lost most or all of your teeth, and you’ll need reconstructive dentistry and oral surgery to restore the form and function of your face and mouth. 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 lots easier to brush and floss throughout your life.

It’s more than unfortunate that so many people develop gum disease when it’s so easily prevented. That, however, is the case. Don’t be among those who need the painful and invasive treatments of reconstructive dentistry and oral surgery. Keep your gums healthy through good oral hygiene and regular dental checkups.

Speaking of checkups, when was the last time you saw your dentist? Call today to schedule your dental appointment in Virginia.

Other Ramifications of Gum Disease

In addition to the above, gum disease has been linked to the onset of serious physical diseases, such as:

  • Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Dementia
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke

 The tissues and membranes in your mouth are very permeable, so anything in your mouth is easily carried to other parts of your body, including your major organs. Rather than risk all these harmful side effects, make a resolution to maintain good gum health and call your dentist for an appointment.

Need an Appointment?

 If you need a dental appointment for any dental procedure, then call Dental One Associates of Virginia at and let us help you. We recommend an oral cancer screening for all our patients 18 and older. Oral cancer is spreading, and since it presents without symptoms, you may have it without knowing. The screening is painless and non-invasive, your dentist will screen during the exam, but it’s an essential component of good oral health and good gum health.

Call us today. We look forward to speaking with you.

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