February is National Gum Disease Awareness Month. This campaign spreads awareness of the symptoms, risk factors, and treatments for gum disease. According to the American Dental Association, it is estimated that 85% of people in the United States alone suffer from gum disease, which is the primary cause of tooth loss in adults. Gum disease is an infection of the tissues that support and surround your teeth.
Many people are not aware that they have gum disease since it is sometimes painless. Gum disease is caused by plaque, which is a type of bacteria that forms on the teeth. There are several factors that increase the risk of developing gum disease, such as chewing or smoking tobacco, genetics, crooked teeth, poor oral hygiene, diabetes, pregnancy and some types of drugs. The warning signs of gum disease may include:
- Swollen, red, and tender gums
- Gums that bleed easily
- Constant bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth
- Gums that separate from the teeth
- Changes in the way teeth fit together when they bite together
- Changes in the fit of dentures
Gum disease can also have an effect on your overall health. Gum disease is linked to:
- Heart disease
Treating gum disease, therefore, can also improve your health in other areas.
Gum disease is common and usually treatable. The stage of the gum disease will determine the type of treatment options that are involved. Treatments are available to reduce or eliminate any inflammation of the gums, slow or stop detachment, and decrease the bone loss in the teeth. Some steps you can take to prevent gum disease include:
- See your dentist regularly to get teeth cleaned and for check-ups
- Establish a daily oral care routine and good oral hygiene habits
- Brush twice daily
- Clean between teeth with floss or an interdental once a day
- Brush your teeth and gums with a mixture of 3% peroxide plus water and baking soda
- Wash your mouth with a salt solution
- Rinse twice a day with an antimicrobial mouthwash like Listerine
- Reduce or stop smoking
- Eat healthy foods and snacks
- Look for signs of gingivitis
If you are concerned about gum disease, it’s important to see a dentist right away. The dental professionals and staff at Babylon Dental Care can help. We provide a variety of services for our patients. Contact us at (631) 983-6665 for more information about our dental care.