National Gum Disease Awareness Month: What Do You Know?
February: a time for snow, cold, romance, and gum disease awareness. No, we’re not playing a game of “which one doesn’t belong:” February is national gum disease awareness month! You might not realize how serious the gum disease epidemic is in the world today, but there’s a good chance you or someone you love will be affected by it at some point in their lives.
Gum disease is easy to end up with, but it’s also just as easy to prevent. You already have all the components for developing gum disease in your body: oral bacteria. It’s a scary proposition, but by being aware of the risk factors, symptoms, and prevention methods you can prevent the development of gum disease and have a healthy smile for years to come. We want to help make that possible at Northwest Dental Group in Rochester!
Gum Disease: What It Is And How To Recognize It
When oral bacteria ends up getting below your gumline it’s able to spread without anything to keep it in check. Your body, sensing an infection, responds with inflammation. You’ve probably noticed some redness and sensitivity around cuts and scrapes before – that’s inflammation your body is using to fight off infection, just like it does in your mouth.
Unfortunately for your oral health, inflammation isn’t nearly as effective at fighting oral bacteria below the gumline. This means that inflammation just keeps getting worse and worse, resulting in gum disease.
At its earliest stage, known as gingivitis, gum disease presents with fewer, less severe symptoms. If you notice any of the following you may have gingivitis:
- red gums
- swollen, puffy gums
- bleeding when brushing your teeth or flossing
- minor gum recession
- persistent bad breath
Without treatment, gingivitis will become worse and worse until it develops into later stage gum disease. Many of the symptoms at this point are the same, but with greater severity and some additional problems as well:
- a bad taste in your mouth
- pus between your teeth and gums
- gums that are sensitive to the touch
- major gum recession and teeth that look extra long
- changes in your bite
- loosening teeth
At this critical stage it becomes harder to treat gum disease and reverse the damage that’s been done. That doesn’t mean it isn’t possible, just that we need to see you right away to help you avoid tooth loss!
Gum Disease Prevention
Over 65 percent of American adults will end up with at least minor gum disease in their lives – that means your chances are about two in three to develop it. Those aren’t good odds, but with proper preventive dental care you can stay in that third of people who will never suffer from even the slightest hint of gingivitis.
- Brush your teeth twice a day, every day. You need to brush for at least two minutes each time, being sure to hit each side of each tooth. Use small, tooth-width strokes to be sure you’re getting each tooth individually, and spend plenty of time around the gumline where plaque bacteria likes to hide.
- Floss every evening before or after you brush your teeth. We understand – no one likes to floss, but it’s an essential part of good oral health. Bacteria that causes gum disease and tooth decay loves to hide in the spots between your teeth where your brush can’t reach. Don’t let it get comfortable in there!
- Get professional dental care at our Rochester office twice a year. Regular cleanings and exams are the basis for good dental health. Without a professional cleaning you’ll never remove plaque bacteria from those impossible-to-clean spots in your mouth. Even a brushing pro has spots they can’t get!
Gum Disease: Be Aware And Get Great Care!
If you’ve noticed any of the symptoms of gingivitis or gum disease in your mouth it’s essential that you make an appointment to see us right away. With early treatment we can stop gum disease in its tracks and reverse the damage it’s caused. We’re ready to help you at Northwest Dental Group!