National Gum Care Month is designed to increase public awareness around the protection and preservation of our gum health. With gum disease being the #1 cause of tooth loss, keeping the public informed on the latest research is helpful not only for the health of your mouth – but your entire well-being.
Studies are published each year linking oral health to our overall health. Gum disease is a systemic disease that is related to the body’s reaction to bacteria and thus can have far-reaching effects on our overall health. Preventing gum disease can help in the protection against other systemic inflammatory conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, and autoimmune conditions. In addition to taking steps to prevent gum disease from occurring in the first place, it’s important to be aware of the warning signs for gum disease, which include:
- Gums that appear red or swollen
- Gums that feel tender
- Gums that bleed easily (during brushing or flossing)
- Gums that recede or pull away from the teeth
- Persistent halitosis, or bad breath
- Loose teeth
- Any change in the way teeth come together in a biting position
Preserve and protect your gums
Gum disease can be prevented largely by developing consistent personal dental hygiene habits, maintaining a healthy diet, and regular professional cleanings. Personal dental hygiene requires brushing (teeth, gums, and tongue) and flossing thoroughly two times a day. Incorporating these habits into your daily routine can be helpful:
- Brush your teeth and tongue – at least twice a day. While two times a day is recommended, consider brushing after all meals. This helps to remove food debris and plaque. Don’t forget to include your tongue, bacteria loves to hide there.
- Floss. Flossing at least once a day helps removes food particles and plaque between teeth and along the gum line. These are often areas that your toothbrush can’t quite reach.
- Swish with mouthwash. Using a mouthwash can help reduce plaque and remove remaining food particles that brushing and flossing missed.
Remember to recognize your risks. Age, smoking, diet, and genetics can all play a role in a risk assessment for gum disease. If you are at increased risk, be sure to take the time to talk with your dentist about any concerns.
Questions about gum health?
At our Midlothian dental office, Drs. Richard and Will Vacca are always available to answer questions and concerns. Whether you have a general question or specific concern, feel to call or schedule a consultation at our Midlothian dental office by calling (804) 739-9191.