February is National Gum Disease Awareness Month—an effort to raise the awareness on the importance of gum health started by the Institute for Advanced Laser Dentistry (IALD). This disease affects 85% of Americans at some point in their lives, making it an incredibly common problem. Without treatment, gum disease can lead to serious oral and overall health problems, which is why it’s important to know its symptoms. Keep reading to learn more about gum health during Gum Disease Awareness Month in St. Peter.
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is an infection and inflammation of your gums that is typically cause by plaque and tartar buildup. If you don’t have a good oral healthcare routine, plaque and tartar can form around your gumline, leading to infection of your gums. If left untreated, gum disease can lead to permanent damage of your gums, supportive tissue, and even tooth loss.
What Are the Common Symptoms of Gum Disease?
The first stage of gum disease is completely treatable and reversible through good oral healthcare and routine dental visits. That’s why it’s important to recognize the most common signs and symptoms early on:
- Gums that bleed easily
- Swollen or tender gums
- Red or irritated gums
- Persistent bad breath or bad taste
- Change in your bite
- Gums pulling away from teeth
If you practice poor oral healthcare, smoke or use tobacco, drink heavily, have diabetes, or a genetic history of gum disease, you’re at a higher risk than average. If you notice any of these symptoms, contact your dentist for gum disease therapy as soon as possible.
How Can Gum Disease Affect My Overall Health?
Besides leading to eventual tooth loss, gum disease can cause additional overall health problems. Recent studies now link it to heart disease. In fact, this infection of your gums can increase your chance of cardiovascular issues by 20%. It also increases your chances of getting diabetes, certain cancers, Alzheimer’s, and even more oral health problems.
How Can I Prevent Gum Disease?
Thankfully, these issues can be prevented by maintaining a positive oral healthcare routine. This means daily brushing and flossing, but you can also use an antibacterial mouthwash to give your mouth a boost of cleanliness. You should also schedule routine dental appointments with your dentist to prevent and detect gum disease early on. Lastly, try making healthy lifestyle choices by quitting the use of tobacco and/or heavy drinking.
Are you ready to take care of your gums for National Gum Disease Awareness Month and beyond? Contact your dentist to give your oral and overall health the best care possible.
Meet the Dentist
Dr. Jenny Miller takes pride in building lasting relationships with her new patients to give them personalized care. She understands the connection between your gums and your overall health, which is why she wants you to know more information about gum disease. She currently practices at Valley View Dental, and she can be contacted through her website or by phone at (507) 934-3332 for any questions.