February is Gum Disease Awareness Month
Facts and Tips to Help Understand and Prevent Gum Disease
Gum Disease Awareness Month in February puts the spotlight on a serious oral health issue that affects roughly 47 percent of adults. Why is it so crucial to spread awareness about gum disease? If left untreated, it can result in tooth loss while also negatively impacting your overall health. So, in solidarity with dental professionals worldwide, the Dr. E Cosmetic and Family Dentistry team wants to show support for Gum Disease Awareness Month by sharing important facts about gum disease along with tips to help keep your gums and teeth healthy and strong.
What Causes Gum Disease?
As plaque and bacteria accumulates on the teeth and gums, a hard, sticky substance known as tartar forms. This leads to inflammation of the gums, also known as gingivitis. If gingivitis progresses into periodontitis, a more serious form of gum disease, the gums and jawbone become severely damaged. This can lead to tooth loss and other serious health risks including heart and lung diseases.
Facts About Gum Disease
Dr. E and her team believe that knowledge is power! The more you know about gum disease, the better you can monitor your own oral health and help preserve the health and smiles of those around you. Here are some facts about gum disease from the CDC and other leading health sources:
- Gum disease risks increases with age, with roughly 70% of adults aged 65 and older showing signs of periodontal disease.
- Gum disease is more common in men than women (56.4% vs. 38.4%).
- Socioeconomics impacts gum disease — those living below the poverty level are 65.4% more likely to be diagnosed with gum disease while 66.9% of people with less than a high school education are more likely to have periodontal disease.
- Smokers are 64.2% more likely to have gum disease.
- Recent studies show that those with obesity have double the incidence of periodontal disease.
Gum Disease Symptoms
While gum disease symptoms can vary in severity, everyone should be aware of the following common warning signs and symptoms. Remember, it’s important to see your dentist as soon as possible if you are exhibiting multiple symptoms:
- Red, swollen or tender gums
- Chronic bad breath
- Bleeding gums (while flossing or brushing)
- Gum recession
- Tooth sensitivity
- Shifting of teeth
- Changes to your bite
- Changes to the way dentures previously fit
Could You Be at a Greater Risk for Gum Disease?
In order to prevent gum disease, it’s important to take stock and be proactive in regard to your oral and overall health. The following conditions and habits can raise the stakes for gum disease:
- Gingivitis (inflamed gums)
- Poor oral hygiene
- Smoking/tobacco use
- Loose or crooked teeth
- Hormonal changes due to pregnancy, menopause or a change in birth control
- Recreational drug use
- Poor nutritional habits
- Dry mouth resulting from certain medications
- Immune system deficiencies
- Chronic diseases such as diabetes, Crohn’s disease or Arthritis
How Can I Help Prevent the Onset of Gum Disease?
The good news is that while gum disease is very common, it is also highly preventable and treatable — especially if you visit your dentist regularly! Remember, if tartar starts to form, only your dentist has the special tools and skills to remove it from your teeth before it progresses into periodontal disease. These tips will further help you preserve your precious teeth and gums:
- Brush daily with fluoride toothpaste using a soft-bristled toothbrush
- Floss diligently to remove food debris from getting trapped between your teeth and gum line
- Eat a balanced diet and limit sugary foods and beverages
- Curb unhealthy habits such as smoking/chewing tobacco
- Use an antiseptic mouthwash to help banish bacteria from your smile (and freshen breath to boot)!
- See your dentists twice annually for professional cleanings (or more frequently if you exhibit risk factors that predispose you to gum disease)
Gum Disease Awareness Take Away…
Now that you are aware of how to spot the signs of gum disease and what to do to prevent its onset, it’s up to YOU to take control of your oral health. The key is to practice a good daily oral hygiene routine and visit your dentist regularly for cleanings and overall monitoring of the teeth and gums. By putting these oral health practices into play, chances are high that you will keep gum disease at bay!
During Gum Disease Awareness Month, the Dr. E Cosmetic and Dentistry team (awarded Ahwatukee Best Dentist), wants to remind you NOT to put off your next dental visit…please contact us today to schedule your cleaning or exam! 480-494-2435