Brush up on Gum Disease, Improve Gum Care
Brush up on gum disease just in time for National Gum Care Awareness Month in September. According to a study quoted on the National Center for Disease Control (CDC) website, “nearly half (46%) of all adults aged 30 years or older show signs of gum disease; severe gum disease affects about 9% of adults.”
Does that seem high to you? It doesn’t surprise us at all. Gum disease can sneak up on you because it can be hard to notice if you don’t know what you’re looking for. We can help with that.
The Basics of Gum Disease
Gum disease is a bacterial infection in the gums, also called gingiva (that’s Latin) which is the tissue in your jaw that forms the base for your teeth. The mild form of gum disease is called Gingivitis, while the advanced or acute form is called periodontitis.
Gum Disease Symptoms
You can tell your gums are probably healthy when they both look and feel healthy. Healthy-looking gums are pale pink, firm, and closely fitted to your teeth. The easiest clue that something is wrong is if they bleed when you brush or floss. And while you might not notice how healthy gums feel, you’ll definitely notice how they feel if they’re not healthy, because they’re probably puffy or sore.
Talk to us right away if you notice discomfort or bleeding during your normal oral care routine because you might have gingivitis. We can help you nip gum disease in the bud and avoid bigger problems down the line.
Signs that the gum disease might be progressing beyond gingivitis to periodontitis or even advanced periodontitis include:
- It hurts to chew
- Your gums look dark red or even purple
- They start bleeding more
- You notice that they feel tender
- You find pus between your gums and teeth
- You’ve got chronic bad breath
- You see your gums receding
- There’s more space between your teeth
- Your teeth are loosening or falling out
- You notice your bite changing or not fitting right
Gum Care: The Impact of Gum Disease
Discomfort, pain, and appearance changes are the most obvious, immediate effects of gum disease, but it also means trouble for your oral and overall health. Without proper preventative maintenance and addressing the issue, it can lead to cavities, root canals, tooth loss, and even bone deterioration. Furthermore, many studies show links between gum disease and other serious chronic illnesses like heart disease and autoimmune conditions. That’s a lot of reasons to be aware and pay close attention!
Causes, Prevention, and Treatment of Gum Disease
The causes of gum disease are exactly what we’re always telling you to avoid – plaque and tartar! Plaque forms daily as the normal bacteria in your mouth interact with the food you eat. Tartar forms as the plaque gets harder and continues to build up on your teeth.
That’s exactly why it’s so important to brush at least twice a day and floss at least once a day. Your semiannual dental cleanings and checkups reinforce the work you do daily, removing any tartar that has built up, identifying and treating any gum disease or other issues that may have arisen since your last visit.
Treatment depends on your specific situation, including the severity of the gum disease and other individual factors. It can include various forms of deep cleaning, some medications, and even surgeries.
Our goal is for you not to get to that point! If you’re doing your job and we’re doing ours, we can prevent the progression of gum disease in most cases.
So now you know! You can recognize National Gum Care Awareness Month with a self-inspection, a refresh of your oral hygiene routine, and maybe even a visit to see us!
We look forward to your next preventative visit and welcome you anytime you need us. To schedule your visit now, complete our contact form, or call our office at (815) 886-0875.