Did you know that nearly two-thirds of adults will end up with some form of gum disease in their lives? That’s a lot of people, and the odds are good that you’ll end up in that group as well. While most people are aware that gum disease is a dangerous condition there’s something many people aren’t aware of: what gum disease is.
At Panama City Smiles we can treat gum disease but we would much rather help you prevent the problems and oral health complications that come with it. That can only be done if you know exactly what symptoms and risk factors you may have for gum disease, which we’re going to share with you today. It’s national gum disease awareness month, so hopefully, we can help you keep your smile healthy with this information!
Gum Disease: What It Is And What To Watch Out For
Everyone’s mouths contain bacteria – there are hundreds and hundreds of strains living in there! Your oral health isn’t affected by all of them but the strains that are dangerous are definitely pretty bad. Those strains are responsible for gum disease and tooth decay, and if you’re suffering from one there’s a good chance you could end up with the other.
Gum disease starts in the form of gingivitis, which happens when oral bacteria makes its way below your gumline. Once there, bacteria spread and your body reacts by causing inflammation in your gums. This normally helps heal wounds but not in the case of gum disease. In fact, it’s the inflammation that causes most of the problems.
If you’ve noticed swollen or red gums, bleeding when brushing, bad breath, or gum recession then you’re probably suffering from gingivitis. These early symptoms are caused by your gums swelling and having trouble staying attached to your teeth.
As gum disease progresses so do your symptoms. A severe case of periodontitis will include gingivitis symptoms but with the addition of many others. You may notice a persistent bad taste in your mouth, changes in your bite, loosening teeth, and eventual tooth loss, all because some bacteria got under your gums.
Gum Disease Risk Factors
Concerned that you might have some symptoms? Even without anything showing you can still prevent gum disease from ever happening. It helps to be aware of risk factors that can increase your chances of ending up with gum disease. Those include:
- substance abuse
- a compromised immune system
- medications that can cause oral health issues
- poor nutrition
- gum disease in your family
- poor oral health practices
Many of those risk factors are out of your control but there are quite a few that can be eliminated. We like to focus on the most obvious ones to us as dental professionals: good oral care!
Prevent Gum Disease With Three Easy Routines
There are three simple things you can do to prevent gum disease, and each of them goes a long way to stop damage, reverse effects, and even counter some of the other risk factors.
Brushing your teeth needs to become something you don’t just do, but you do with precision. Brush twice a day for at least two minutes while making sure to:
- use a soft bristled brush
- hold the brush at a 45-degree angle to your gums
- scrub in short, tooth-width strokes
- get all the surfaces of your tooth
- brush gently – too much force can make brushing ineffective
Flossing daily is another important routine to get used to. You can’t neglect this important practice – it’s just as important as brushing your teeth! You should be flossing every night, either before or after you brush. Flossing gets plaque out of hard-to-reach spaces that are especially prone to gum disease.
Getting professional dental care at our Panama City dentist office every six months is the third part of the equation. With regular cleanings and exams we can identify, treat, and stop gum disease in its tracks. It’s essential to get a professional cleaning twice a year – that’s how you establish a nice, clean baseline to start from!
If Gum Disease Worries You Don’t Take A Chance
Brushing, flossing, and professional care are all that stand between you and the ravages of gum disease. Don’t take a chance with even the smallest of symptoms or risk factors – make an appointment to see us at Panama City Smiles today!