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woman with healthy gums

Gum Care Awareness Month

woman with healthy gums

September Is Gum Care Awareness Month

 Doesn’t sound like the most exciting thing to celebrate, does it? However, good gum health is as important to your good physical health as eating right, exercising, and annual doctor visits.

Poor gum health is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults who are 35 and older. Poor gum health starts with poor oral hygiene and quickly moves to gingivitis, which is the first stage of gum disease and eventual tooth loss. However, maintaining good gum health is very easy, so make September a month to celebrate by focusing on getting your gums healthy.

Are you ready to schedule a gum care appointment to ensure you have healthy gums? Call the Northern New Jersey office today for a convenient time to come in.

How Do I Take Good Care of My Gums?

 The best news is that you don’t need specialized tests or equipment to keep your gums healthy because the same practices that keep teeth healthy also keep gums healthy. You should already have everything you need, which is:

  • A good quality, soft-bristled toothbrush that’s the correct size for your mouth
  • A good quality toothpaste
  • Dental floss: traditional floss, floss picks, or a flosser work equally well
  • Antibacterial mouthwash, optional

 All your dental products should carry the ADA Seal of Acceptance so that you know you’re using a quality product.

The ADA recommends that you brush and floss at least twice daily, preferably after each meal or snack. If you brush and floss only twice daily, once should be just before bedtime. Be sure to brush your tongue as well. Although this may sound and feel odd, it can minimize the number of bacteria that remain on your tongue, gums, and teeth overnight.

Nighttime is also a good time to use mouthwash since it can remove any residual bacteria that your other methods missed. Don’t consume anything but plain water after your nightly routine, or you will defeat its purpose.

Are There Any Signs Indicating Gum Disease?

 The first stage of gum disease is gingivitis, and it usually presents with minor bleeding during brushing and flossing. However, there are other signs of gum disease, such as:

  1. Bad breath or an unusual taste in your mouth
  2. Gums that recede from your teeth
  3. Inflamed, swollen areas on your gums
  4. Infection or pus between your teeth
  5. Loose teeth or odd spacing between your teeth
  6. Minor bleeding when you brush or floss
  7. Red, swollen, or sensitive gums

 If you notice any of these symptoms, you should seek professional dental advice without delay. It may not be gum disease, but there’s a problem, or you wouldn’t have the symptoms.

Your dentist will examine your gums and teeth to determine if there is a problem. If so, they’ll diagnose it and formulate a treatment plan with you.

Are There Stages of Gum Disease?

 Gum disease has three stages. The first is curable, and any damage can be reversed. The other two are incurable, and you’ll have permanent, irreparable damage.

The three stages of gum disease are:

  1. Gingivitis: Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease and occurs primarily due to poor oral hygiene. Sometimes, it’s simply a matter of not flossing or brushing well for a few nights, which allows bacteria to accumulate on your teeth and gums. Other times, it’s the habit of poor oral hygiene that allows a buildup of tartar, which is a very hard substance that inflames your gums and can only be removed by a dentist.

    At the gingivitis stage, gum disease can be cured, and damage is reversible. If you notice minor bleeding during your oral hygiene routine, you probably have gingivitis. Since it’s easily cured at this point, seek prompt dental treatment, and ask your dentist for tips on preventing its recurrence.
  2. Periodontitis: Periodontitis is the second stage of gum disease, and it occurs because the first stage of gingivitis was ignored. Tartar will not go away on its own. It requires professional intervention. Periodontitis permanently damages your gums and jaw. Although the progression of the disease can be halted, it can’t be cured. Damage can be repaired but not reversed.

    Treatments for periodontitis include antibiotics, scaling, and root planing to halt the progression of the disease, and reconstructive dentistry or oral surgery to regain the full use of your teeth and gums. Even if you have periodontitis, you should address it promptly, so it doesn’t become advanced periodontitis. Don’t ignore it simply because it can’t be cured.
  3. Advanced Periodontitis: Advanced periodontitis is the third and final stage of gum disease. If you’ve allowed gum disease to progress to this point, you’ll have incurred irreparable damage to your jawbone and facial structure, and the ligaments that secure your teeth will have been destroyed. Most or all of your teeth will have fallen out, and your facial structure may appear as though it has melted. At this point, reconstructive dentistry and oral surgery are the only solutions for restoring functionality and structural aesthetics to your gums and teeth. Your surgical options may require bone grafts if you want implants, and other expensive and invasive procedures to restore the structural integrity to your face and jaw and allow you to regain function.

It’s truly tragic that so many people allow their gums and teeth to deteriorate to the point of advanced periodontitis, but dentists see hundreds of cases like these every year.

In addition to destroying the form and function of your mouth, gum disease can destroy your major organs as well. Research has shown a correlation between gum disease and many major health problems, such as:

  • Cancer
  • Dementia
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke

 The reason for this is the thin and porous membranes and tissues in your mouth that allow everything that goes into your mouth to be transported via the bloodstream to your major organs. Remember, anything you allow in your mouth, including bacteria, will travel throughout your body.

Do You Need a Dental Appointment?

If you want to keep your gums healthy and maintain the best physical health possible, call Garden State Dental at and schedule an appointment. We recommend that all our patients 18 and older get screened for oral cancer because it’s one of the fastest-growing diseases in the nation. The screening is painless and non-invasive. Your dentist will screen you during your exam.

Call us today for an appointment. We look forward to speaking with you and working with you.

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