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September is National Gum Care Month, and it’s a big deal for your oral health. When it comes to your smile, good oral health is the foundation to creating a healthy-looking, self-confident appearance. By ensuring healthy teeth and gums — because when it comes to tooth loss, it’s not just from tooth decay and cavities — periodontal disease is actually the most common cause of tooth loss in adults! That’s why your daily oral hygiene care, combined with regular dental checkups, is crucial to getting the healthy, beautiful smile you want and deserve.

Progressive Disease

As National Gum Care Month gets into full swing this month, we want to encourage you to get your bi-annual checkup and cleaning if you haven’t already so we can spot and stop gum disease in its tracks, because unfortunately, it is a progressive disease.

Step 1 – Gingivitis

Gum disease starts out as gingivitis, a bacterial infection that sets into your gums. It happens if you don’t brush and floss harmful oral bacteria away and it builds up into plaque. This is a sticky bacterial film you can feel when running your tongue across your teeth. Left unchecked, gingivitis continues to thrive until it causes deep gum pockets. This is a result of deteriorating gum tissue from unchecked inflammation and infection, which can lead to bleeding and pain. However, when gingivitis is treated, it can help reverse this process and your gums can heal. You might have gum disease if you see the following:

-Red, bleeding gums
-Gum pain
-Sour taste in your mouth
-Mouth sores that won’t heal

Step 2 – Periodontitis

If your gum infection is aggressive, your gum tissue can recede and the condition can steadily worsen. This can also happen in young people because of vitamin deficiency (rather than just bacterial infection). To avoid losing your teeth to periodontitis, your advancing gum disease needs to be treated as early as possible. And it’s not just because unhealthy teeth and gums make you look older or because replacing teeth is costly, it’s because it affects your smile and your body! Gum inflammation travels through your bloodstream to cause additional inflammatory conditions in your body, including heart disease, diabetes and autoimmune issues.

So what can you do to ensure healthy gums?

-Address oral bacteria build-up: Daily brushing, flossing and using an antibacterial mouthwash helps minimize germs that otherwise collect and harden from plaque into tartar, or calculus. Don’t neglect to brush or scrape your tongue every day too, because that’s a large surface that can hold onto bacteria. Your routine dental checkups and cleanings help get rid of tartar and calculus using special instruments. We can even recommend some instruments you can use to remove oral bacteria from your teeth and tongue.

-Give your body healthy building blocks: Help your body resist infection so it can’t strengthen and spread. You’ll need vitamin C to lower inflammation-causing red, bleeding gums. This means eating fruits and vegetables, especially citrus fruits, berries, and leafy greens. Vitamin B12 from milk, eggs, meat as well as B12 fortified bread, pasta, and cereals. Omega-3 Fatty Acids also fight inflammation and boost gum health, and flaxseed oil and fish are great sources. You can also take supplements for vitamin C, B12 and Omega 3 if your diet is restricted.

Seeking Help

If you have noticed that your gums are bleeding and regular, gentle flossing around the gum line and between teeth isn’t helping, you may need treatment. Depending on the stage of gum disease you are fighting, you may need to visit a dentist, or periodontist to stop the bleeding and make sure your gums are not receding or leading to bone loss and tooth loss. This year, don’t let gum disease be the cause of tooth loss in your smile, because you can achieve healthy teeth and gums. Our experienced team is here to help ensure your smile and overall health is as healthy as possible!