February is Gum Disease Awareness Month, and it’s a good time to check up on your oral health. Gum disease is more common than you might think, but it can be treated by a professional dentist if caught early enough.
Read on as a Miami Beach, FL dentist talks about gum disease, what causes it, and symptoms to watch for.
The Effects of Gum Disease
Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a common condition that affects the tissues around your teeth. It can lead to tooth loss if not treated early and most people don’t know they have it. In fact, gum disease is the main cause of tooth loss in adults, so it’s important to take care of your oral health. That’s why February has been designated as Gum Disease Awareness Month!
Gum disease is an infection of the gums and bone that supports your teeth. The bacteria in plaque cause gum disease, which can cause bad breath and tooth decay. Gum disease can also lead to serious health problems if left untreated, including heart disease or diabetes.
Symptoms of gum disease include:
- Red, swollen gums that bleed easily when flossed
- Painful chewing
- Bleeding while brushing or flossing
- Receding gum lines exposing more tooth surface than usual
- Teeth sensitivity to hot and/or cold
What Causes Gum Disease?
If you aren’t already aware, gum disease is caused by plaque buildup. Plaque is a sticky, colorless film that forms on your teeth. It’s made up of bacteria, food particles, and saliva.
When plaque doesn’t get removed regularly, it can harden into tartar—a substance that sticks to the surface of teeth like glue—and lead to a host of oral health problems.
Other Risk Factors
Not being aware of your condition can lead to serious consequences, even if you don’t feel any symptoms at all. Gum disease is linked to a number of other health issues, including heart disease, diabetes, and even Alzheimer’s disease.
Things You Can Do
If you’re concerned about your risk for gum disease or other related illnesses such as heart disease or diabetes (or if you just want some tips on how to keep your smile healthy), here are some steps you can take:
- Brush after every meal using fluoride toothpaste
- Use floss daily between molars and at least once per week between anterior teeth (your front teeth)
- Visit us regularly for professional cleanings
If you have more questions or wish to schedule a dental wellness exam, please don’t hesitate to call us, your local Miami Beach, FL dentist, today!