February is Gum Disease Awareness Month, a holiday that was designated to increase public awareness for and prevention of this serious this oral health condition. Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss among adults, and the likelihood of developing gum disease only increases with age. Your teeth don’t have to disintegrate or fall apart. With consistent, gentle dental care at home and from your Red Bank dentist, you can maintain a healthy, beautiful smile for life.
1. Brush and Floss Every Day
Poor oral hygiene is the number one cause of gum disease. Bacteria and dental plaque build-up cause gum disease. Brushing twice a day and flossing at least once a day, sloughs away this grossness before it attacks your tooth enamel and gum tissues and begin breaking them down. When plaque is not removed daily, it hardens to tartar, and only your dental hygienist’s special tools can remove that from your teeth.
2. Honor Your Dental Appointments
Your twice annual dental appointments may seem like just one more thing on your to-do list, but these visits are so important. Along with getting an excellent teeth cleaning that makes your teeth feel smooth, look shinier and whiter, and feel better, you undergo a dental exam where your Red Bank dentist checks for gum disease symptoms and measures gum pocket depth. Gum disease develops slowly, and while you may not notice you have gingivitis, your dentist will. Catching this problem early is the key to stopping it from wreaking havoc on your oral health.
3. Understand Your Risks
Sometimes, no matter how diligent you are about your dental care, you can still be susceptible to gum disease. This is often a combination of your overall health and wellness and genetics, but diet, tobacco use, alcohol consumption, misalignment, hormone fluctuations, and dry mouth can all contribute to the problem. If you fit into any of these categories, it is even more important for you to take good care of your teeth at home and see your dentist and hygienist every six months for a cleaning and thorough dental exam.
4. Know the Symptoms
Because gum disease is often painless in the earliest stages, it’s critical to know the symptoms, which include:
- Bleeding gums when brushing and flossing
- Red gums
- Tender or swollen gums
- Chronic bad breath
- Bad taste in your mouth
- Pain when chewing
- Pus around the teeth and gums
- Tooth sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures
- Teeth that feel loose
5. Be Proactive
You can take additional steps to help minimize your risk of developing gum disease. If you can’t brush and floss after a meal or snack, drink water to rinse away food particles and oral debris. When you do eat, be careful what you indulge in – limit bacteria-feeding sugars and sweets. If you are someone who needs to have something in their mouth, chew sugarless gum – this increases saliva flow to help rinse away bacteria and is also free of artificial sweeteners.
Do you think you might need gum disease treatment? Schedule an appointment with Dr. Carole Sherrod Jewell or Dr. Pauline Robinson at Red Bank Dentistry to get an expert’s eyes on your teeth and gums. Contact us today.