Fun fact: September is National Gum Care Month. Now here’s a not-so-fun fact: most people don’t take nearly as good care of their gums as they should. Gum disease will affect about half the adult population of the U.S. at some point. Fortunately, September is the perfect time to learn why your gums are so important and how to take care of them, so you don’t contract gum disease.
Your Gums are essential!
What is Gum Disease?
Periodontitis is one of the common dental conditions in the US but is largely preventable with the maintenance of proper oral hygiene. Besides, if you notice gum disease in its initial stage, it is possible to reverse the condition and prevent it from advancing to severe periodontal disease.
It is important to understand the signs of gum disease to identify its symptoms and treat them at the earliest.
The major symptoms of gum disease are as follows:
- Swollen and red gums
- Bleeding of the gums while brushing or flossing
- Receding gum line
- Persistent bad breath
- Tenderness and infection in the gums
- Puss or blood oozing out of the gums
- Loose teeth or lost teeth
- Changes in the bite
How Periodontal Disease Affects Systemic and Oral Health
Periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. Still, the damage is not restrained to the mouth: gum disease is associated with an increased risk of serious degenerative diseases. When oral bacteria leeches into the gums and the bloodstream, it can increase inflammation throughout the whole body.
Patients with advanced periodontitis are associated with a higher risk for diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, cardiac problems, and other serious conditions.
How to take good care of your gums
You can help take care of your gums by following these guidelines:
- Healthy Brushing: Be sure to brush at least twice a day, waiting to brush for at least 30 minutes after your meal (brushing right away can cause corrosion from leftover food).
- Flossing Correctly: Floss at least once a day to remove debris between the teeth and near the gums. It is recommended you floss before brushing so your toothbrush can wipe away leftover bacteria and debris. Gently floss between each tooth, using clean sections of floss each time. Avoid snapping the floss down onto the gums.
- Seeing Your Dentist: You should receive a dental exam and cleaning every six months if not more often. Notify your dentist if you have concerns about your teeth and gums or if you are experiencing pain or discomfort.
- Healthy Diet: Consume a regular diet of healthy foods and liquids. More sugar in your diet tends to lead to more lingering and sticky bacteria. Rinse your mouth with water after eating and drinking other beverages.
- Avoiding Substances: A great way to help your teeth and gums stay healthy is to avoid tobacco and limit your alcohol intake. This includes smoking and vaping. Try to avoid drinking too much soda and energy beverages, candies, sugary snacks, and fast food.
- Other Tips: Replace your toothbrush every two to three months, depending on the wear. Exercise regularly to increase blood flow and encourage saliva flow. Choose a toothpaste that is best for your dental needs.