February is National Gum Disease Awareness Month and is meant to raise awareness of gum disease and encourage people to practice better oral health to prevent, diagnose, and treat the disease. At Three Creek Dentistry in Derwood, we’re dedicated to helping you prevent gum disease with regular checkups and cleanings and by educating you about gum disease and the ways in which you can keep your teeth free of this dangerous oral health problem.
What Is Gum Disease?
Also known as periodontitis, gum disease is an infection of the gums that damages–and in some cases destroys–the bone and soft tissue in your mouth. If left untreated, gum disease can cause tooth loss. Symptoms of gum disease include swollen or red gums, tenderness, bad breath, receding gums that pull away from your teeth, gums that bleed easily, pus in between teeth and gums, loose teeth, pain when chewing, and any kind of change in the way your teeth fit together when you close your mouth.
What Causes Gum Disease?
A sticky colorless film made of bacteria, plaque is the cause of gum disease. While plaque constantly forms on your teeth throughout the day, when it is left on your teeth and not removed by regular brushing and cleaning it can lead to periodontitis. Further, the longer that plaque stays on your teeth, the more it builds up and turns into tartar, a hard substance that can only be removed by a dental professional. This is why it’s vital to practice good oral health habits every single day in order to remove plaque and lessen your risk for gum disease. Beyond bad oral health, there are some other factors that can increase your risk for periodontitis including using tobacco, hormonal changes, age, obesity, genetics, substance abuse, poor nutrition, certain medications that cause dry mouth, and diseases like leukemia, diabetes, Crohn’s disease, and more.
How Can You Prevent Gum Disease?
The best way to prevent gum disease is by practicing good oral hygiene. This means brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time, flossing at least once a day, and using fluoride toothpaste to ensure your tooth enamel stays strong. It’s also important to maintain a healthy diet that’s high in vitamins, minerals, and fiber and low in sugars and carbs. Finally, it’s vital that you come in for regular checkups and cleanings every six months so that our dental hygienists and dentist can give your teeth a professional clean and check your teeth for any signs of oral health issues.
Contact our Derwood office to schedule an appointment today.