Your teeth are only one part of your overall oral health — your gums play a major role, too!
Your gums are the soft tissue that covers your jaw bones, holding your teeth in your mouth, keeping away bacteria, and supporting your bones. If you skimp on taking proper care of your teeth and gums, bacteria can build up under your gum line and cause infection, lost teeth, and gum disease.
Types of Gum Disease
Gingivitis: Gingivitis is the beginning stage of gum disease when your teeth’s plaque give off toxins that irritate and inflame your gum tissue. Luckily, gingivitis can typically be reversed by properly brushing and flossing.
Mild to moderate periodontitis: During this stage of gum disease, the inflammation causes an infection which deteriorates your gum tissue. The seal between your teeth and gums begins to weaken, causing pockets to form.
Advanced periodontitis: During this stage, the pockets near your gums will grow, and may even cause your teeth to fall out.
How to Prevent Gum Disease
Luckily, preventing gum disease isn’t a lot different from maintaining the rest of your oral health. Some tips include:
- Brushing twice a day
- Flossing daily
- Drinking plenty of water
- Avoiding stress
- Avoiding tobacco
- Eating a balanced diet
Gum Disease Is Common
If you’re dealing with inflamed or irritated gums, you’re not alone. According to the CDC, nearly 50% of Americans over the age of 30 has some sort of gum disease. And unfortunately, because gum disease can sometimes have no symptoms, it can go untreated and worsen.
To make sure that your gums are in tip-top shape, it’s important to visit your dentist every 6 months. Your dentist will deep-clean your teeth and inspect them for signs of periodontal disease.