October 20, 2015
You probably don’t think about your gums too often, but they’re a crucial part of your smile — and that’s probably something you do think about. Our gums keep the teeth in place, and healthy gums mean fresh breath. But when gums become infected, they’re suddenly something you think about a lot more often. Gum disease: it’s a condition we also call periodontal disease, and it affects close to 50 percent of Americans. If that number shocks you, it does us, too. That’s because the condition is easily prevented. Keep reading for tips on keeping healthy gums for a healthy smile from Dr. Peter Auster, your Ponoma dentist.
Maintaining Good Oral Hygiene Crucial for Healthy Gums
If you’re wondering how you can keep your teeth healthy, strong and free from disease, the answer is simple: maintain excellent oral hygiene habits. What does that include? Brushing for two minutes, twice a day, flossing once a day and visiting your dentist every six months. These are small steps, but they greatly reduce the risk of developing gum disease.
Neglecting brushing and flossing combined with a poor diet are the number one cause of gum disease. Other risk factors for the condition include:
- Tobacco use. When used in any form, tobacco greatly increases the risk of developing infections in the gum. And because tobacco prevents proper healing, it can be more difficult to treat the disease after diagnosis.
- Female hormonal changes. Puberty and menopause have been linked with the development of gum disease.
- Taking certain medications. Some medications cause dry mouth, which reduces the amount of saliva produced in the mouth and increases the risk of developing gum disease.
- Genetics. Unfortunately for some, gum disease is nearly unavoidable due to simple genetic factors.
Warning Signs for Gum Disease
If you’re experiencing any of the following, you may be suffering from the early warning signs of gum disease.
- Persistent bad breath
- Red, swollen, bleeding or tender gums
- Pain when chewing
- Sensitive teeth
- Teeth that appear slightly longer as a result of receding gums
The Effects of Gum Disease Can Be Life-Altering
Compared to the many potential side effects gum disease can cause, bad breath is hardly a consideration. Some other serious effects of the condition include:
- Tooth loss. When gum disease becomes severe, tooth loss is sure to follow. In fact, 70 percent of the occurrence in adults is caused by the condition.
- Heart conditions. Recent studies have suggested a link between periodontal disease and serious conditions with the heart, including stroke and heart disease.
Schedule Your Dental Appointment in Rockland County Today
If you believe you are at-risk for or currently suffering from gum disease, don’t hesitate to seek help from Dr. Peter Auster, the dentist Rockland County trusts. When caught early, periodontitis is usually easily treated — so don’t wait. Call our office today.
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