September is National Gum Care Month, and there is no better way to celebrate than by visiting your favorite periodontist to make sure your teeth and gums are healthy and clean. Gum disease, known professionally as periodontal disease, can be uncomfortable and unpleasant. If you are not taking proper care of your gums, September is a great time to start!
What Causes Gum Disease?
Plaque builds up on the teeth continually, fed by the foods we eat. It forms a sticky film around the teeth and gums and is full of bacteria. If the plaque is not removed regularly it can become tartar, a hard substance that can only be removed by a professional cleaning. A buildup of plaque and tartar can cause inflammation in the gums, which may become red and swollen and may bleed easily. One common form of periodontal disease is gingivitis. Gum disease that goes untreated can become more serious. With periodontitis, gums may pull away from the teeth, allowing bacteria to proliferate below the gum line and eat away at connective tissue and bone.
Why Should I Keep My Gums Healthy?
Gum disease can affect much more than just your mouth. Studies have shown that people with unhealthy gums may also exhibit a range of other problems, including:
· An increased risk of heart disease
· Greater risk of stroke
· Higher prevalence of respiratory disease
· More difficulty controlling blood sugar
· Poorer performance on memory tests
· Greater likelihood of delivering preterm, low birth weight babies
How Can I Keep My Gums Healthy?
It is easy to make taking care of your gums part of your daily routine.
· Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
· Floss regularly or use a dental pick.
· Use mouthwash to reduce plaque.
· Do not smoke or use tobacco.
· Eat a healthy, balanced diet that is low in sugar.
· Visit your dentist for regular cleanings every six months.
If you are experiencing painful or bleeding gums, contact a periodontist for a consultation. Dr. Jean-Claude Kharmouche is a board certified periodontist in Sterling, VA. New patients can request an appointment with Dr. Kharmouche by calling (703) 951-6756.