Facts That You Need To Know About Gum Disease
- February 1, 2017
Make a list of five people. They can be people in your family, your co-workers, or people you know in passing. Now pick one name on that list. That person is the lucky one.
Statistically, the other four people have or will develop gum disease, according to the American Dental Hygienists Association. Along with tooth decay, gum disease is one of the most common oral health problems in the United States.
While it is treatable, it can have serious long-term consequences if you ignore gum disease. In fact, it is the leading cause of tooth loss in the United States. The team at our dentist office in Columbia, SC, wants you to keep as many of your teeth as possible.
February is Gum Disease Awareness Month. Today’s post is meant to provide you with information about the symptoms of gum disease, factors that increase your risk of developing gum disease, and steps you can take to prevent gum disease.
That includes professional dental cleanings and examinations, which we offer at Total Dental Care of South Carolina. If you have not scheduled your next appointment for a cleaning, please call 803-272-4162 or contact us online.
Gum Disease: What To Watch For
Gum disease, which is also known as periodontal disease, can be mild or advanced. The mild form of gum disease is called gingivitis. The advanced form is periodontitis.
Gingivitis can lead to periodontitis if left untreated. The good news is that gingivitis often can be treated by following some simple steps (which we will address later).
Bleeding gums are a good indication that you have gingivitis. If you bleed when you floss or brush your teeth, there is a good chance you are not flossing as often as you should. It’s also possible that you may not be flossing correctly. (Watch for some flossing tips in an upcoming blog post.)
Healthy gums should look pink and feel firm to the touch. Gums look redder than usual and swollen gums are more signs that you have gingivitis.
Periodontitis is more serious. It should be treated with the help of dental professionals, like our team at Total Dental Care of South Carolina.
You should make an appointment if you notice any of these symptoms:
► Gums that bleed easily (more often than when you brush and floss)
► Gums that feel sore or tender
► Gums that are separating (receding) from your teeth
► Bad breath that does not go away
► Teeth that feel loose
Our hope is that you will visit our dentist office in Columbia, SC, long before it gets to that last symptom. Remember you can call 803-272-4162 to make an appointment with us.
Know Your Risks Regarding Gum Disease
As with most disease, some people are more resistant to gum disease, and some people are more likely to develop gum disease.
The risk factors include things you can control and some things that you can’t. Either way, it’s important to be aware if any of them affect you.
▪︎ Tobacco use
Avoiding tobacco is one of the best things you can do for your sake of your oral health. Whether it is cigarettes, cigars, or smokeless tobacco, all of them increase your risk of gum disease. The National Institutes of Health statistics show that smokers are nearly three times as likely as nonsmokers to develop gum disease.
▪︎ Family history
If gum disease runs in your family, then it is something you should know.
▪︎ Having diabetes
People with diabetes are more likely to develop gum disease as well. It’s important to keep both of these conditions under control.
The side effects of some medicines can include dry mouth, which can increase your risk of gum disease.
▪︎ Being a female going through hormone changes
Anyone can develop gum disease at any time, but females are more susceptible to gum disease during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause.
Taking A Stand Against Gum Disease
The best approach to gum disease is being active in trying to prevent it. As it turns out, the things you should be doing to prevent gum disease also can be effective at treating gingivitis.
Brushing your teeth twice a day (two minutes each time with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste) will remove a lot of bacteria that cause gum disease.
Flossing daily is how you clean the space that your toothbrush can’t reach. That is between your teeth and below your gumline.
And last but not least, you should have regular cleanings and exams at our dentist office if you live in or near Columbia, SC. We can remove any plaque or tartar from your mouth. We will watch for symptoms of gum disease so you can be treated as soon as possible.
To schedule your next cleaning or to ask questions about gum disease, contact Total Dental Care of South Carolina by calling 803-272-4162 or by filling out our online form.