September is National Gum Care Month
“We think September is a pretty important month considering that almost half of Americans have some form of gum disease,” said Dr. Tony Thomas, lead dentist at Advanced Smile Care in North Central San Antonio.
In fact, right now, more than 60 million of us are dealing with gum problems that can range from mild to severe, and many people don’t even realize they have it until it’s too late.
“That’s why we want you to take time this month to be mindful of your gums and avoid the very serious consequences of gum disease,” said Dr. Thomas, who noted that gum disease can be genetic and not necessarily attributable to poor oral hygiene.
What is gum disease?
Gum disease is an infection of your gums caused by bacteria. There are two types of gum disease: gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is the mild form of the disease that causes your gums to bleed and hurt. If you don’t treat gingivitis, it can get worse and turn into periodontitis. Periodontitis can be a very serious health issue that damages your gums and the bones that support your teeth.
Gum disease can potentially get so bad that it results in tooth loss, which can result in a big expense to replace them with dentures or implants.
Gum disease is linked to inflammation, which can increase your risk of diabetes, heart disease, and autoimmune disorders. So, by treating your gum disease, you are also protecting your overall health. Gum disease can potentially impact your appearance, your speech, your eating, and, yes, your confidence.
“It’s important to pay attention to gum disease. Untreated gum disease can lead to a host of problems impacting your entire body,” said Dr. Thomas.
Did you know that the average person aged 20-39 has one missing tooth, the average 40-49 year-old has 3.5 missing teeth, and those over 60 average 8 missing teeth? Most of the time, tooth loss is due to gum disease.
How can you take care of your gums?
The good news is that gum disease often can be prevented and treated with 3 simple steps.
BRUSH and FLOSS
By brushing your teeth and flossing at least two times a day, you will be taking a big step toward preventing gum disease. Be sure to floss when you brush! This will help remove the plaque and bacteria that cause gum disease. If you have had gum problems in the past, your dentist may suggest additional hygiene tools to clean your teeth and tongue better. Remember, communicating with your dentist is a great way to gain information and advice about how to keep your gums healthy.
KNOW THE SIGNS
The second step is to watch out for any signs of gum disease such as bleeding gums, mouth sores, gum pain, and prolonged bad breath. If you notice any of these symptoms, don’t ignore them. Try to increase your flossing for a week to see if those symptoms go away. If they don’t, it’s time to see your dentist. Your dentist can examine your gums and give you the right treatment to stop an infection and save your teeth.
The third step is to ask for help. If you suspect a gum problem, be sure to make a dental appointment, so an expert can examine you. They may also be able to find out what kind of bacteria are causing your gum disease. Not all bacteria are the same, and some are more harmful than others. Sometimes your dentist can do a lab test on your saliva to identify the bad bacteria and give you the best treatment to get rid of them.
Don’t wait until it’s too late. This September, celebrate National Gum Care Month by visiting your dentist and getting a check-up of your teeth and gums!
Remember, the team at Advanced Smile Care is always here for you and wants to help you have great oral health and a spectacular smile.