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Gum Care Awareness Month

woman with healthy gums

September Is Gum Care Awareness Month

 A major component of your good overall health is your good oral health, which includes your gums and teeth. September is dedicated to making more people aware of the importance of healthy gums to their longevity and lifelong good health. Many people are unaware that gum disease has been linked to the onset of many serious physical diseases, such as:

  • Cancer
  • Dementia
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke

among others. Gum disease is also the leading cause of tooth loss in those who are 35 and older. Maintaining healthy gums is one of the easiest things you can do to contribute to your good health, so resolve to maintain good oral health from now on.

We can’t wait to see you at the Northern Virginia office for your dental cleaning and check up! Call today to make an appointment.

How Do I Maintain Healthy Gums?

Maintaining healthy gums requires no specialized tests or equipment, merely items that you already have. If you don’t have them, then make a dental appointment without delay. The items you need are:

  • A soft-bristled, quality toothbrush that’s correctly sized for your mouth
  • Toothpaste
  • Dental floss, either traditional floss, floss picks, or a flosser – all work equally well as long as you use them
  • Antibacterial mouthwash, although this is optional

 If you use mouthwash, either the traditional type or the non-alcoholic type work well.

The American Dental Association recommends that you brush and floss a minimum of twice daily, and one of those times should be just before you go to bed. Be sure to brush your tongue so you remove any bacteria that may be lurking on its rough surface. This is also a good time to use mouthwash since it will eliminate any residual bacteria that your other efforts missed. This ensures the fewest bacteria in your mouth overnight and reduces the likelihood of developing gum disease.

What Symptoms Are Associated With Gum Disease?

 The initial symptoms of gum disease are mild, and you may attribute them to another cause. However, if you have any of the following seven symptoms, make a dental appointment as soon as possible:

  1. Bad breath or an unusual taste in your mouth
  2. Gums that recede from your teeth
  3. Inflamed, swollen areas on your gums
  4. Infection or pus between your teeth
  5. Loosened teeth or odd gaps between your teeth
  6. Minor bleeding during brushing or flossing
  7. Swollen, sensitive, or reddened gums

 Gum disease usually starts with minor bleeding, but some people may have other symptoms first. Either way, be sure to make a dental appointment if you have any of the above seven symptoms.

What Should I Do If I Think I Have Gum Disease?

First, you should make a dental appointment. Your dentist will examine your gums and teeth to determine if you have gum disease and, if so, at which stage. Next, your dentist will outline a treatment plan and advise you of the likely outcome and how to avoid a recurrence.

 Is There More Than One Stage of Gum Disease?

 There are three stages of gum disease, and they are as follows:

  1. Gingivitis: Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease and occurs due to poor oral hygiene that allows tartar to build up on your teeth. Tartar is a very hard substance that inflames your gums and can only be removed by a dentist. Maintaining good oral health by brushing and flossing after a meal or snack can dramatically reduce your likelihood of developing gingivitis. At this stage, your gum disease can be cured, and any damage can be reversed, so if you notice minor bleeding or any other symptoms during your oral hygiene routine, you probably have gingivitis. Schedule a dental appointment without delay since gingivitis is relatively easy to cure, and the earlier it’s treated, the better the prognosis. Ask your dentist for tips on how to prevent a recurrence.
  2. Periodontitis: Periodontitis is the second stage of gum disease, and it occurs when gingivitis remains untreated. Unlike gingivitis, however, periodontitis cannot be cured. Damage can only be repaired; it can’t be reversed, and it will cause irreparable damage. Its progression can only be halted through expensive and invasive techniques such as antibiotics, scaling, and root planing. Although you can restore functionality to some degree, you’ll need reconstructive dentistry or oral surgery to regain the full use of your teeth and gums. If you’re in any stage of gum disease, you should make a dental appointment as soon as possible to minimize the damage and restore your oral health.
  3. Advanced Periodontitis: Advanced periodontitis is the third and final stage of gum disease, and it causes permanent and irreparable damage to your jawbone, facial structure, and the ligaments that secure your teeth. Many or all of your teeth will have fallen out, and your facial structure may appear as though it has melted. The only solution for the damage caused by advanced periodontitis is reconstructive dentistry and oral surgery. Your dentist will explain your options, and they may include bone grafts and other expensive and invasive procedures to restore functionality and structural integrity to your face and jaw.

It’s truly regrettable that so much damage can be caused by inadequate brushing and flossing, but that’s the case. Don’t become one of these statistics. Make September the month you resolve to maintain good gum health.

Need a Dental Appointment?

 If you need a dental appointment for your annual exam and cleaning, for an oral cancer screening, or for any other dental procedure, then call Dental One Associates of Virginia at , and we can help you. Our Northern Virginia dentists are some of the best, and we’d love to help you in your efforts to maintain good gum health as well as good oral health.

Call us today. We look forward to speaking with you and working with you.

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