September is national gum care month. So now is a great time to review why healthy gums are vital to our oral health and overall well-being! According to the CDC, about 47% of Americans suffer from a form of gum disease. That is almost half of the American population! Here at Ellis Family Dentistry, we want to educate our patients on the importance of dental hygiene and proper gum care. The good news is that although gum disease is common, it is also preventable and treatable!
So What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is the body’s inflammatory response to a bacterial infection in the mouth. The first stage of gum disease is known as gingivitis. Symptoms may include red, swollen, tender, or bleeding gums, especially when brushing or flossing. Many people develop gingivitis if they do not have a consistent dental hygiene routine.
If the infection progresses, it may lead to a more severe stage of gum disease, known as periodontitis. Periodontitis may cause the attachment of gums and bone to recede or pull away from the teeth which, can cause the teeth to be loose or even need to come out. Gum disease requires dental intervention.
Periodontal disease is often associated with other systemic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. According to The American Academy of Periodontology, recent research has shown that inflammation is the linking factor. Therefore, treatment of inflammation of the gums (aka gum disease) can help with the care of other health problems.
Prevention and Treatment
Proper gum care is vital to the prevention of gum disease. Brushing teeth twice a day and flossing at least once a day helps prevent the build-up of bacteria on the teeth and the spread of bacteria under the gum line. When brushing, make sure to use a soft-bristled brush or an electric brush and only use light pressure. Brushing too vigorously can cause more damage to gums. Proper flossing technique helps to remove bacteria in the places between the teeth. Consistent dental hygiene practices can prevent and even reverse the early stages of gingivitis.
Periodontitis requires more involved treatment to remove bacteria under the gums. Be sure to schedule routine dental cleanings and ask your dental provider about the best treatment options for you. Optimal oral care helps your overall health. Ellis Family Dentistry is here to answer any questions you may have about gum disease or proper gum care. Give us a call or send us a message today!