National Gum Disease Awareness Month: How You Can Keep Your Gums Vibrant and Healthy!

National Gum Disease Awareness Month: How You Can Keep Your Gums Vibrant and Healthy!

Posted by WOODRUFF FAMILY DENTISTRY on Feb 11 2020, 05:58 AM

Most people tend to focus on taking care of their teeth and forget about the importance of maintaining healthy gums. However, gum disease is a common problem that can lead to serious dental issues if left untreated. So let's dive into some helpful tips and tricks to keep your gums vibrant and healthy!

What is Gum Disease?

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a bacterial infection that affects the gums and tissues surrounding your teeth. It's usually caused by poor oral hygiene habits that allow plaque to build up on your teeth. Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that forms on the surface of the teeth and can harden into tartar if not removed regularly.

When plaque and tartar buildup along the gum line, they irritate and inflame the gums, causing them to become red, swollen, and tender. This early stage of gum disease is called gingivitis. If left untreated, gingivitis can progress into more severe stages of gum disease known as periodontitis.

Causes of Gum Disease

Gum disease is caused by the buildup of plaque on teeth and gums. Plaque contains bacteria that produce toxins, which irritate gum tissue and cause inflammation. Over time, this can lead to gingivitis, the early stage of gum disease. Other causes of gum disease include poor oral hygiene habits such as infrequent brushing or flossing, smoking or chewing tobacco products, hormonal changes in women during pregnancy or menopause, genetics, and certain medications that reduce saliva production. If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis – a more severe form of gum disease where pockets develop between teeth and gums, leading to bone loss and tooth loss.

Symptoms of Gum Disease

The early stage of gum disease is called gingivitis. The most common symptom of gingivitis is red, swollen gums that bleed easily when brushed or flossed. You may also notice bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth. If left untreated, gingivitis can progress into periodontitis which causes more severe symptoms such as receding gums, loose teeth, and even tooth loss. You may also experience pain while chewing or sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures. In some cases, gum disease can even affect your overall health by increasing the risk of heart attacks and strokes. That's why it's crucial to schedule regular dental check-ups with your dentist to catch any signs of gum disease early on.

How to Prevent Gum Disease

Maintaining good oral hygiene is key to preventing gum disease. Here are some simple steps you can take to keep your gums healthy and vibrant.

  • Make sure to brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste for at least two minutes each time. Pay special attention to brushing along the gum line, as this is where plaque buildup tends to occur.
  • Flossing daily is also important in preventing gum disease. Flossing removes food particles, and plaque from between teeth that brushing alone cannot reach.
  • In addition, using an antiseptic mouthwash can help kill bacteria that cause gum disease. However, it should not be used as a substitute for regular brushing and flossing.
  • Eating a well-balanced diet rich in vitamins C and D, calcium, and phosphorus can also promote healthy gums. These nutrients help strengthen both teeth and bones while reducing inflammation in the body.
  • Avoiding tobacco products such as cigarettes or chewing tobacco can reduce the risk of developing gum disease by improving overall oral health.

Treatment Options for Gum Disease

When it comes to treating gum disease, the approach will depend on the severity of your condition. If you're in the early stages, simple changes to your oral hygiene routine might be enough to reverse it. This could include brushing twice a day using fluoride toothpaste and flossing at least once daily.

If your gum disease has progressed beyond this stage, professional dental treatment may be necessary. Scaling and root planing is a common procedures used for patients with more advanced gum disease. It involves removing plaque and tartar from below the gum line and smoothing out rough spots on tooth roots that can trap bacteria.

In some cases, surgery may also be required to address severe damage caused by gum disease. Different types of surgical procedures are available depending on the extent of damage done, including flap surgery, where tissue is folded back temporarily, or bone grafts, where the damaged bone is replaced with new bone tissue.

Our staff at Woodruff Family Dental is available to assist you and your entire family in taking care of your oral health. Call (870) 972-8190 to schedule your appointment as soon as possible. Come see us at 2800 Enterprise Cv, Jonesboro, AR 72401, or send us an email.

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