The month of September marked the start of National Gum Care Month. It’s important to note that according to the University of Pennsylvania’s school of dentistry, around 47.2% (or 67 million Americans), suffer from varying degrees of gum disease, a number most dental offices hate to see.
Surprisingly, gum disease is a common oral health issue that is easy to overlook which would explain why this pesky disease is so common. Society and the media tend to focus more on tooth health than gum health between commercials and ads for teeth whitening, but gum disease is often painless, making it even more likely to go unnoticed until it’s too late.
What is Gum Disease and What is the Root Cause?
Many patients know that awkward moment when their dentists ask how often they floss. There are several reasons we ask, especially when it comes to early prevention in regards to potential gum disease.
Gingivitis and periodontitis are two common forms of gum disease, both of which are caused by bacterial infections in your gums from the plaque in between and on your teeth. Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease that causes gum bleeding and pain. If left untreated, it can advance to its more dangerous form, periodontitis, which is the number one most common cause of tooth loss.
Gingivitis causes irritation, redness, and swelling of your gingiva (the part of your gum around the base of your teeth). If not caught and treated in a timely manner, you are doing a disservice to your overall health.
Warning Signs for Early Prevention
Gum disease is easy to avoid especially since the common cause of gingivitis is poor oral hygiene. Good oral health habits, such as brushing at least twice a day, flossing daily, and scheduling routine visits to the dentist can help prevent and even reverse the damage of gingivitis.
- Swollen or puffy gums
- Dusky red or dark red gums
- Gums that bleed easily when you brush or floss
- Bad breath
- Receding gums
- Tender gums
Did you know that there are 4 stages to periodontal disease? Gingivitis, slight periodontal disease, moderate periodontal disease, and advanced periodontal disease. Gingivitis, however, is the only stage of periodontal disease that is reversible as it has not yet had time to attack the bones.
An ongoing issue, periodontitis affects not just the gums, but the jawbone as well and can lead to tooth loss. With tooth loss and disease also comes overall systemic health issues that can run rampant through your body.
- Swollen or puffy gums
- Bright red, dusky red, or purplish gums
- Gums that feel tender when touched
- Gums that bleed easily
- Pink-tinged toothbrush after brushing
- Spitting out blood when brushing or flossing your teeth
- Bad breath
- Pus between your teeth and gums
- Loose teeth or loss of teeth
- Painful chewing
- New spaces developing between your teeth
- Gums that pull away from your teeth (recede), making your teeth look longer than normal
- A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
Gum Healthy Solutions
Preventing gum disease is truly as simple as practicing proper oral hygiene habits daily. If you are removing bacteria such as plaque and tartar twice daily (yes, that also includes routine flossing) you are already on the right track to healthy, pink gums and a mouthful of teeth for life!
If you have experienced any gum bleeding, schedule a consultation with the Agnini team! Routine dental treatment can keep gingivitis from progressing into periodontitis and its associated problems down the road. 863-682-1500.