Gum disease, or periodontal disease, can be sneaky. It’s estimated that more than half of the adult population is dealing with some form of gum disease, and that a considerable percentage of children have gum disease, too. But, most people don’t know that they have it.
That’s part of the reason why February is Gum Disease Awareness Month in pretty much every state in the US. The disease affects more than just a person’s gums and teeth. There have been numerous studies showing that periodontal disease also plays a part in a person’s overall health, and that there is likely a link between it and heart disease, diabetes, and a number of other conditions.
Whether you have a stellar track record of seeing your dentist and caring for your mouth, or you have been lax about your dental visits and mouth care, there are a number of things you can do this month to improve the health of your teeth and gums and minimize the impact gum disease has on your life.
Commit to Better Mouth Care
Now that it’s February, the time for New Year’s resolutions might be long past. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t attempt to improve your life in some way. Make February the month you commit to taking better care of your mouth. If you’re not in the habit of brushing with fluoride toothpaste twice a day, get in the habit. One way to do that is to set a reminder on your phone. Have it go off right before you usually leave your home in the morning and about 30 minutes before bed at night.
Maybe you’re already good about brushing your teeth, but you’re like most people when it comes to flossing. You either forget to do it or dislike it so much that you just don’t do it. While flossing might not be fun, it’s a lot better than undergoing treatment for periodontal disease. Set a reminder on your phone for either the morning or evening, and start getting in the habit of flossing everyday.
Learn the Warning Signs
Since it’s Gum Disease Awareness Month, it can be helpful to learn the symptoms and signs of gum disease so that you are more aware of it. The tricky thing is that in the early phases, gum disease can be asymptomatic. Still, as it progresses, you might notice some signs of it in your mouth.
For example, if you’re dealing with gingivitis, you might have swollen or tender gums that bleed easily, especially when you floss and brush your teeth. As the disease progresses, symptoms might include bad breath, an unpleasant taste in your mouth, gums that recede or pull away from your teeth, and even teeth that feel loose. If your teeth shift, you might notice that they don’t fit together quite right anymore and it might become painful or difficult to bite down.
See a Periodontist
Even if you don’t think you have gum disease, it can be a good idea to schedule an appointment with a periodontist, just to be on the safe side. A periodontist can examine your teeth and gums, might perform a teeth cleaning, and can give you a clear diagnosis of gum disease or not. You don’t need to have symptoms to schedule a visit with a periodontist, but if you do notice anything amiss in your mouth, such as tender gums, red or white patches, or a lump in the mouth, seeing your dentist is particularly important.
If you do have periodontal disease, the next step is to get treatment for it. In some cases, all the treatment you might need is a deep cleaning, to remove the bacteria from the mouth and to help the gums heal. More advanced cases of gum disease do require more advanced treatment, though, and the sooner you take care of the problem, the better your overall health will be. Treatments for periodontal disease might include replacing any gum tissue that has receded or pulled away, reducing the size of periodontal pockets, and, in more advanced cases, removing a severely damaged tooth and replacing it with an implant.
At their practice in Miami, periodontists Dr. John Paul Gallardo help patients with all stages of gum disease. Whether you’re dealing with gingivitis or a more advanced case, or aren’t even sure if gum disease is your problem, call (305) 447-1447 to schedule a consultation with Drs. Gallardo today.