Did you know that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly half of all adults aged 30 years or older show signs of gum disease? That is over 175 million men and women! February is Gum Disease Awareness Month, so there is no better time than now to discuss the dangers of gum disease in Concord and share tips on how to prevent it. Keep reading below to learn how you can maintain healthy gums and a healthy smile.
What Is Gum Disease?
Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is an oral infection that damages the soft tissue in the mouth. This common condition is caused by plaque – a sticky film of bacteria – that can build up on teeth and gums if you do not brush and floss daily. Without treatment, gum disease can destroy the bone that supports the teeth and even lead to tooth loss.
What Are the Stages of Gum Disease?
There are three stages of gum disease:
- Gingivitis – During this early stage, you may notice your gums are red, swollen or bleeding. Improving your oral hygiene habits can usually reverse gingivitis.
- Periodontitis – Serious bone and tissue damage occurs at this stage. Professional treatment, such as scaling and root planing, is typically required to prevent further damage.
- Advanced Periodontitis – The gums, bones and other tissue that support teeth are destroyed during this stage. Your teeth may shift out of position, causing bite, speech and chewing problems. If aggressive periodontal treatment cannot save your teeth, they may need to be removed.
What Are the Symptoms of Gum Disease?
Gum infections are often painless during the early stages, which makes it difficult for many people to realize they have a problem. If you experience any of the following gum disease symptoms, you should contact your dentist:
- Bleeding gums when brushing or flossing
- Red, swollen or tender gums
- Receding gums
- Loose-feeling teeth
- Sensitive teeth
- Persistent bad breath
- Visible pus surrounding the teeth and gums
- Pain when chewing
How to Prevent Gum Disease
The good news is that gum disease can usually be prevented simply by brushing and flossing every day! Thoroughly cleaning teeth on a daily basis removes the harmful bacteria that leads to gum infections. In addition to practicing excellent oral hygiene at home, you can prevent gum disease in Concord by:
- Visiting your dentist every six months for a dental exam and professional cleaning
- Drinking water after snacking to rinse away leftover food particles
- Limiting your consumption of sugary sweets, which bacteria love to feed on
- Quitting smoking tobacco
When it comes to your teeth and gums, a little prevention can go a long way. This February, renew your commitment to preserving your healthy gums by practicing the tips above and contacting your dentist to schedule your next checkup!
About the Author
Dr. Gregory C. Gell is a trusted endodontist in Concord with over two decades of experience helping patients maintain healthy, complete smiles. The proud University of North Carolina Chapel Hill Dental School graduate leads the talented team at Afton Ondodontics. To learn more about gum disease, visit the Afton Ondodontics website or call Dr. Gell at 704-784-4625.