- February 1, 2016
Most everyone has heard of gum disease, and with good reason: over two thirds of adults will be affected by it at some point in their lives. Left untreated, gum disease leads to tooth loss, bone loss, and the risk of other serious illnesses. Quite simply, it’s a danger many people overlook!
In recognition of the dangers of gum disease the American Dental Association has declared February to be national gum disease awareness month. At Shorewood Family Dental Care we are whole-hearted supporters of spreading awareness of gum disease – it can save your smile, your health, and your bank account a lot of stress!
What Is Gum Disease?
Part of raising awareness of gum disease means helping you understand what it is and why it’s so easy to develop. It all starts with the oral bacteria that everyone has in their mouths. That bacteria causes tooth decay and gum disease, both of which generally happen when you don’t practice good oral hygiene.
When that bacteria gets under your gumline several things start to happen. Since you are no longer able to brush or floss it away the bacteria spreads fast. As it spreads your body sees it as an infection and reacts by causing inflammation in your gums. Inflammation is your body’s usual reaction to fighting infection, and in most cases it works great. Your gums, however, aren’t able to fight off infection with an inflammatory response, so the inflammation just continues.
Gingivitis and Periodontitis: Recognizing The Symptoms
As that inflammation develops into gingivitis you’ll notice some symptoms that might seem small: gum inflammation and redness, puffiness, bleeding when you brush, and slight gum recession. These might seem inconsequential but they’re symptoms that things are getting bad below your gumline.
While gingivitis can be easily treated with a visit to our Shorewood office and better home care it often isn’t caught until things start to get worse. When that happens you’re headed for full-blown periodontitis. This condition usually results in severe gum recession, a persistent bad taste in your mouth, loosening teeth, and change in your bite, and even tooth loss.
The risks associated with gum disease are serious, and can even have effects on other parts of your body. Don’t let yourself end up with heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, or any other related conditions!
Are You At Risk For Gum Disease?
With two thirds of the population affected there’s a good chance you have at least some gum disease risk factors. The key is knowing what they are and if they’re easily fixed! If you fall into any of the categories below you should be taking extra good care of your gums!
- tobacco use
- substance abuse
- taking prescription drugs that affect oral health
- older age
- a family history of gum disease
- poor diet
- a compromised immune system
- poor oral health care
Many of those conditions are unavoidable but there are quite a few that can be treated and eliminated. Even removing one risk factor can significantly improve your chances of avoiding gum disease.
Treat Your Teeth Right
If you’re serious about preventing gu disease there are three things you need to do: brush, floss, and get regular cleanings and exams.
- Brushing your teeth is the most basic way to remove plaque bacteria from your mouth and gumline. It doesn’t take long for plaque to migrate below your gums so you should always be brushing twice a day for at least two minutes. Invest in a good soft bristled brush too – hard ones can damage your teeth and gums.
- Flossing is just as important as brushing your teeth. It needs to be done daily to remove plaque from between your teeth, which is just as important (if not more important) than getting it off the surfaces of your teeth.
- Exams and cleanings at our Shorewood office help identify problems early, treat them faster, and give you a nice clean starting point to work with between visits. You can’t maintain a healthy gum disease and cavity-free smile without professional care!
Don’t Wait: Make An Appointment Now!
Whether you’ve noticed symptoms of gum disease or are just worried it could happen there’s no reason to delay – the appointment you make now could save your smile!
Call Shorewood Family Dental Care today at 815-768-1615 or request an appointment by filling out our online form. We look forward to seeing you soon!