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Learning More About Gum Disease and How to Prevent It

February 8, 2024

Filed under: Uncategorized — James Nguyen @ 2:10 pm
Graphic for Gum Disease Awareness Month in February

February is most closely associated with Valentine’s Day, but it also happens to be Gum Disease Awareness Month. As such, now is a good opportunity to learn more about gum disease, what can potentially lead to it, and what you can do to prevent it. Below is everything your dentist wants you to know when it comes to protecting the health of your gums.

What Exactly Is Gum Disease?

Gum disease is a condition where the tissues that are holding your teeth in place have become infected. This can result in red, swollen gums that tend to bleed easily. The earliest stage of gum disease, gingivitis, is relatively mild. However, untreated gingivitis can eventually turn into periodontitis, which is a much more serious threat to your oral health; it can even result in the loss of your teeth.

What are the Risk Factors for Gum Disease?

One of the biggest risk factors for gum disease is poor oral hygiene. If you aren’t brushing and flossing as often or as thoroughly as you should, it can result in the buildup of plaque and tartar, which can easily lead to problems with your gums.

Other factors that might contribute to gum disease include overconsumption of sugar, constant use of tobacco products, stress, alcohol, and misalignment issues that interfere with your ability to clean your smile properly.

What Can You Do to Prevent Gum Disease?

You can never fully eliminate the risk of developing gum disease, but you can make the condition significantly less likely to occur. Here are some simple tips for protecting your gums:

  • Make sure that you brush your teeth at least two times a day. Each brushing session should take two minutes. Be careful not to overlook your gumline.
  • Add flossing to your oral hygiene routine. Flossing on a daily basis helps get rid of the plaque and food particles that are hiding in the spaces between your teeth.
  • Reduce bacteria levels in your mouth by rinsing with mouthwash.
  • Eat less sugary foods. Look for alternatives that help promote the health of your gums, such as yogurt, carrots, apples, and almonds.
  • Visit your dentist once every six months. They’ll be able to give your mouth a thorough cleaning in order to get rid of any plaque and tartar that you haven’t been able to remove by yourself. They can also check for signs of gum disease that you may have overlooked.

It pays to be proactive when it comes to protecting your smile. If you have any concerns about the health of your gums or have reason to think that you may be suffering from gum disease, get in touch with your dentist right away.

About the Author

Dr. Richard Mullens went to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for his Doctor of Dental Surgery. He has completed more than 1500 hours of continuing education. His Jacksonville practice, Distinctive Dentistry by Mullens & Nguyen, offers scaling and root planing as a solution for gum disease. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Mullens, visit his website or call (904) 399-3163.