Feb 07, 2020

February is that magical time of year when everyone’s thinking about hearts, chocolates, and… gum disease? That’s right, February is also National Gum Disease Awareness Month! It’s the perfect time to take a moment between making dinner plans and buying flowers to look at your gums. Have you noticed recently that brushing or flossing can easily give you bleeding gums? That could be an early indicator of this common oral health condition. Here’s everything you need to know about the effects, symptoms, and treatment of gum disease.

Why Is Gum Disease Awareness Important?

A buildup of plaque and tartar on your teeth and gums can cause more than just cavities. The bacteria they contain also attack the gum tissue, which could lead to a bacterial infection. This is an early stage of gum disease known as gingivitis. Thankfully, the symptoms caused by gingivitis don’t cause any permanent damage and can easily be treated with improved at-home oral health care.

However, if your inflamed, bleeding gums are overlooked and the infection is left untreated, it could advance into periodontitis, an advanced stage of gum disease. This indicates that the infection has become destructive enough to cause permanent damage to the gums, jawbone, and teeth. Eventually, it will destroy the connective tissues that hold your teeth in place, causing them to fall out.

What Does Gum Disease Look Like?

If you identify and treat gum disease while it’s in its earlier stages, you can prevent the infection from growing and protect your smile. If you experience the following symptoms, it’s time to take a more proactive approach to keeping your gums healthy:

  • Bad breath that doesn’t go away after brushing and flossing.
  • Inflamed, swollen, or bright red gum tissue.
  • Gums that are sensitive to the touch or bleed easily.
  • Receding gums, which may make your teeth look longer.
  • Shifting, sensitive, or loose teeth.

How Is Gum Disease Treated?

The initial stages of gum disease can be treated and reversed with improved oral hygiene at home. Make sure to brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day, floss all of your teeth daily, and use an antiseptic mouthwash regularly. In more severe cases, your dentist may suggest a gum disease treatment like scaling and root planning, soft tissue laser treatment, or antibiotic therapy. These treatments can comfortably and thoroughly eliminate the bacteria and help protect against reinfection.

The best way to treat gum disease is to stop it from developing in the first place. A great daily dental care routine and regular dental checkups are essential to keeping your smile happy and your gums healthy!

About The Author

At Tarpon Shores Dental in Englewood, FL, we always strive to treat small issues before they become bigger problems, which is why we encourage all our patients to get a routine dental checkup every six months. However, if you do develop a bacterial infection in your gums, Dr. C. Romesh Weerasooriya (Dr. Mesh) is here to help. With state-of-the-art technology and advanced dental techniques, he offers efficient and effective gum disease treatments like scaling and root planning, soft tissue laser treatment, and antibiotic therapy. If you’re concerned about gum disease, feel free to contact him at his website or (941) 548-1351.