September is National Gum Care Month, and for many dentists this is an important opportunity to educate their patients. Everyone knows to take good care of their teeth, but many people don’t pay the same amount of attention to their gums. The American Dental Association has found that 42% of adults in the United States have an advanced form of gum disease called periodontitis; if this condition remains untreated, a patient’s teeth and overall health could be at risk. To avoid these life-changing issues, read on to learn more about why excellent gum health is important – and what you can do to promote it!
What Makes Your Gums So Important?
The importance of your teeth is obvious: they let you chew a wide variety of foods and are important for speaking clearly. Because your pearly whites are so vital, your body needs to make sure that they’re well-defended. This is where the gums come in; they cover the sensitive roots of the teeth, protecting them from damage and infection. Unfortunately, if you don’t keep the gums healthy, they’ll start doing a lot more harm in your mouth than good.
What Happens if the Gums aren’t Healthy?
Poor oral hygiene can allow bacteria in your mouth to enter the gums and cause an infection. This is what’s known as gum disease, although it’s also known as periodontal disease. During the first stage, gingivitis, your gums will appear red and inflamed, and they’ll bleed easily when you’re brushing or flossing. Eventually, gingivitis will turn into periodontitis, a much more severe and potentially dangerous condition.
Periodontitis will destroy the soft tissue and bone that connect the teeth to the rest of the head; if left unaddressed, it could eventually lead to tooth loss. Worse yet, the bacteria in gum disease have been connected to heart disease, digestive problems, diabetes, birth complications and other serious health issues. To avoid these extremely unfavorable outcomes, it’s best to have gum disease treated as early as possible – or better still, avoid it altogether!
How Can You Take Care of Your Gums?
Taking care of your gums isn’t too much different than taking care of your teeth. Continue brushing and flossing every day to remove the plaque and debris that can lead to infections; flossing is particularly important, since the tight spots where a toothbrush can’t easily reach are where an infection is most likely to begin. When you brush your teeth, pay close attention to the area near the gum line (where the gums and teeth meet).
Of course, you should also see your dentist on a regular basis; they’ll thoroughly clean the spots you’ve missed on your own, and they can find and treat infected gums before they do too much damage. If you keep these appointments and continue practicing good oral hygiene, your gums will keep protecting the rest of your smile for years to come!
About the Practice
At Pelican Landing Dental, our four skilled dentists make it a priority to continue their education and training so that they can always bring their patients in Bonita Springs the best dental care available. They offer several different kinds of periodontal therapy to help patients that are suffering from gum disease. To schedule an appointment, visit their website or call (239) 948-2111.