According to the American Academy of Periodontology, nearly half of all American adults have some form of periodontitis. While you may not be familiar with this medical term, you have definitely heard this condition called by another name: gum disease.
Periodontitis can cause damage to both your oral health and your overall wellness. This means that it’s very important to spot gum disease and treat it early – or better yet, prevent it before it develops. Here are a few tips to help you keep your gums nice and healthy.
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease develops when bacteria causes your gums to be inflamed. This can happen when plaque and food particles settle along your gum lines. As the bacteria in these particles harden, they can extend beneath your gums and cause irritation and infection.
How do you end up getting periodontitis? There are several things that can cause gum disease. Smoking, poor oral hygiene, or health problems like diabetes are common factors, as well as certain medications or even hormone changes during pregnancy.
Gum Disease and Health Risks
Because it is so easy (and so common) to develop gum disease, many people seem to think that this condition is “no big deal.” After all, nearly half of Americans have it! There’s no way it can be that bad… right?
Unfortunately, gum disease does carry some significant health risks. If left untreated, gingivitis or periodontitis can cause your gums to recede. This can leave your teeth vulnerable to damage and even make them loose and unstable in your mouth!
Additionally, gum disease has been linked to a variety of health risks. Individuals who suffer from periodontal disease have an increased risk of lung disease, heart disease, and even stroke. Because of this, it’s very important to carefully manage your oral health.
Signs and Symptoms
The health risks associated with gum disease are scary enough to make anyone want to avoid this condition. Luckily, your dentist can treat gum disease through deep cleaning and other procedures – but only if you catch the condition early on.
How will you know if your gums need treatment? Look for some of the tell-tale signs of gum disease:
- Red, swollen gums that bleed when you brush or floss
- Receding gum lines
- Loose teeth
- Bad breath
- Pain and sensitivity when you eat or drink
If you start to notice these symptoms, talk to your dentist as soon as possible. He or she will inspect your gums with a small ruler, which will determine the rate of inflammation. Your dentist might also perform x-rays to look at your teeth and check for signs of damage. Then, he or she will be able to help you decide on a treatment plan.
How to Care for Your Gums
While it is possible to treat gum disease, preventing it is even better! Here are a few tips to help you keep your gums healthy and bacteria free:
Brush and Floss
Proper oral hygiene is one of the easiest ways to ensure that your teeth and gums are healthy and beautiful. Make sure you brush your teeth (with fluoride toothpaste) twice a day and floss once a day.
Eat a Balanced Diet
A balanced, healthy diet will give your gums the nutrients they need to fight off infection. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins – and always make sure to drink lots of water. A single sip can help wash away bacteria!
Visit Your Dentist
The best way to make sure your hygiene habits are on track is to visit your dentist twice a year. If you haven’t had a check up lately, there’s no better time to make an appointment! Advanced Family Dental & Orthodontics can help you get the healthiest teeth of your life. For more information, call one of our offices today!