Did you know that the average person between the ages of 20 and 39 is missing 1 tooth due to poor gum care? On average, people between the ages of 40 and 49 are missing 3 teeth and those over the age of 60 are missing an average of 8 teeth not including wisdom teeth. Since September is National Gum Care Month, we’re bringing awareness to the importance of proper gum care and how you can take control of your oral health. With roughly 47% (67 million Americans) of the U.S. population suffering from gum disease, it’s crucial that we do our part to help reduce those numbers.
Keeping your gums healthy should be an important goal of yours. Not only do gums serve the vital purpose of keeping your teeth in place, but they also help keep the rest of your body healthy. For instance, gum disease has been linked to damaging heart disease and it’s been proven to have negative effects on those with diabetes. Along with figuring out how to improve gum health, it’s also important to know what gum disease is, and how it affects you.
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is an infection that damages the soft tissue and bone that support your teeth. It’s typically caused by bacterial plaque build-up which may result in tooth decay. There are varying degrees of gum disease. Typically, gum disease starts out as gingivitis which is mild and can be easily managed if promptly treated. A more advanced form of gum disease called periodontitis has more severe effects. Luckily, if you notice the symptoms early on, you can take control of your gum disease and get your gums back to being healthy. Here are some symptoms of gum disease to be aware of:
- Having bad breath or a constant bad/sour taste in your mouth
- Separating or loose permanent teeth
- Swollen, red, or tender gums
- Gums that have pulled away from your teeth
- Bleeding gums
Gum Care Tips
Following these gum care tips can help you avoid harmful gum diseases such as periodontal disease and gingivitis. Also, it will help improve your overall health and give you the smile you’ve been wanting.
#1 Daily Flossing
Daily flossing is one of the best ways you can care for your gums. Flossing at least once a day will help remove the food and plaque that goes beyond your toothbrush’s reach. It’s difficult for the bristles on your toothbrush to get in between each tooth, but that doesn’t mean plaque and food don’t build up in those spots. Luckily, floss is able to get in those hard-to-reach areas to remove food and plaque build-up. Just be careful not to push the floss too hard into the gums as this can cause pain and irritation.
#2 Brush Your Teeth Regularly
Ideally, you should be brushing your teeth after each meal. This will help remove the food stuck in your teeth and prevent it from being trapped in there long enough to create plaque. As long as you brush twice daily, you have a better chance of avoiding plaque build-up, and will help you prevent developing gum disease. Also, be sure to brush your tongue as it can harbor bad bacteria in your mouth.
Good brushing habits also depend on having a good toothbrush. Toothbrushes should be replaced every three to four months, or sooner if the bristles start to fray.
#3 Avoid Smoking
It’s been proven that smoking is strongly associated with the onset of gum disease. This is because smoking weakens your immune system and a weak immune system will make it harder to fight off a gum infection. Smoking also makes it more difficult for gums to heal and could create long-term damage.
#4 Use a Fluoride Toothpaste and Mouthwash
Fluoride is an ingredient used in toothpaste that helps prevent tooth decay. It does this by slowing the breakdown of enamel while increasing the remineralization process rate. Fluoride also strengthens weak spots and exposed roots to prevent tooth decay and cavities in adults and children. For this reason, it’s important to use toothpaste that contains fluoride.
Also, be sure to use mouthwash for extra protection against plaque and tartar buildup. Mouthwash can help reduce plaque, prevent or reduce gingivitis, and reduce the speed that tartar develops.
#5 Visit Your Dentist Regularly
Visiting your dentist regularly can help detect gum disease symptoms early on and prevent them from worsening. Dentists are trained to catch the early symptoms of gum disease and will provide you with solutions to treat the signs before they turn more serious. Also, a professional teeth cleaning is the only way to properly remove tartar buildup. So, don’t skip your dental appointments and let your dentist know if you start noticing any signs that you may be developing gum disease.
Celebrate National Gum Care Month with a Trip to Your Reno Dentist
In order to maintain good oral health, it’s important that you visit your dentist regularly to prevent harmful gum diseases such as gingivitis and periodontal disease. This September, celebrate National Gum Care Month with a trip to your Reno dentist! If you’re in the Reno, NV area and looking for a simple gum care solution, be sure to connect with Dr. Kulesa’s office today and get an appointment scheduled.