Fun fact: September is National Gum Care Month. Now here’s a not-so-fun fact: most people don’t take nearly as good care of their gums as they should. Gum disease will affect about half the adult population of the U.S. at some point. Fortunately, September is the perfect time to learn why your gums are so important and how to take care of them, so you don’t contract gum disease.
WHY ARE YOUR GUMS IMPORTANT?
When we think of the dentist, we typically picture someone making sure our teeth are clean. But did you know that your gums are just as important as your teeth when it comes to your oral health? Your gums protect the sensitive roots of your teeth from being exposed. If you don’t care for your gums properly, you could get gum disease, which results in all sorts of additional issues.
WHAT IS GUM DISEASE?
Treating this bacterial infection in your gums early is important. If this problem isn’t dealt with soon enough, the structures keeping your teeth anchored to your gums could become damaged, causing your teeth to fall out! Here are some common signs of early gum disease to watch out for:
- Sensitive gums
- Swollen or red gums
- Bleeding when brushing or flossing
- Receding gumline, making teeth appear “longer”
- Persistent bad breath or bad taste in your mouth
- Pus oozing from your gums
Gum disease can progress quickly, so it’s crucial to see your dentist right away if you experience any of the symptoms listed above. Not only does it negatively affect your dental health, but it can cause complications in the rest of the body, such as:
- Heart disease
- Birth complications in pregnant women
- Digestive issues
HOW CAN YOU TAKE GOOD CARE OF YOUR GUMS?
The good news is that gum disease is preventable if you give your gums the same level of care that you give your teeth. The most important thing you can do for your gum health is flossing. Be sure to floss at least once per day to remove plaque from between your teeth. if you don’t floss, plaque hardens into a material called tartar. Bacteria in tartar attack your gums and cause an infection that leads to gum disease.
In addition, brush your teeth every day and see your dentist twice a year for a regular checkup and cleaning. Take advantage of National Gum Care Month by sticking to a routine of flossing every day!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. Nathan Coughlin is a graduate of the University of Southern California School of Dentistry. Following that, he received a Diplomate in Orthodontics. Currently, he practices at Breckinridge Dental & Orthodontics in Richardson, TX. To learn more about how to take good care of your gums, ask Dr. Coughlin by visiting his website or calling him at (972) 248-9119.