It’s Gum Disease Awareness Month, which makes it the perfect time to rededicate ourselves to our best oral health!
At Advanced Dental, we want to help you do just that!
You’ve probably heard the expression, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” This is a perfectly reasonable philosophy. Why bother changing something that seems just fine the way it is?
But there are times when this way of thinking can actually do more harm than good. Take your car, for example. If it’s getting you from point A to point B, a reasonable person would assume everything is running as it should.
“Reasonable” is the operative word, here. A reasonable person takes care of their car. A reasonable person puts gas in the tank to keep it running. A reasonable person changes the oil every few thousand miles. A reasonable person takes their car to a mechanic to figure out what’s making the brakes squeak, even though the brakes are still working.
In other words, you take all these reasonable measures out of the equation, and that car will not run well long term. It won’t tell you it’s going to break down in a few weeks. It’ll just break down, and by then, the cost to fix it may be more than the car is worth.
The same is true for our health. We tend to go through life thinking that if something doesn’t hurt, then we must be okay. Again, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Tell that to a person who’s survived a heart attack. They’ll probably tell you they wish they’d taken better care of themselves over the years. They would’ve stopped smoking years earlier. They would’ve eaten better and exercised more. But because they couldn’t feel their arteries slowly clogging over time, they thought they were just fine.
Just like we do with our cars, we need to take proper care of our bodies if we want lasting health. How can we do that?
For many people, your first response is to think about what you put into your mouth. That’s a great place to start. Today, we’d like you to consider something in addition to that.
Consider what stays in your mouth.
If I Feel Fine, Am I Fine?
Maybe. Maybe not.
Any time you eat or drink, food particles and sugars can linger in your mouth long after you swallow. If they’re not washed away through rinsing, brushing your teeth, or flossing, they can wear out their welcome.
Why is this a big deal? Because the bacteria in your mouth now has something to feed on, which turns the sugars from food and drinks to acids that weaken your enamel. You also have plaque forming on your teeth that needs to be washed away before it has a chance to build up and harden.
What we’re describing is exactly how gum disease begins. In its early stage, it’s known as gingivitis. It’s where the plaque on your teeth hardens at the gumline, causing inflammation.
Not everyone experiences symptoms of gingivitis. It’s generally painless, and in most cases, you can’t even see it. Unless you notice changes in your gums such as redness or swelling, it’s easy to overlook. But thank goodness you’re a reasonable person who sees their dentist for routine checkups, right?
What if you haven’t been going to the dentist regularly? Gingivitis is easily treatable if your teeth are cleaned by a professional. Without the expertise and proper tools, your gingivitis can slowly become more advanced and even dangerous.
Gum disease, if left untreated, advances to periodontitis. At this point, the inflammation has worsened, plaque has built up under the gumline, and the supporting tissue and bone around your teeth are compromised.
The scariest part is that you might still feel fine at this stage! Maybe your symptoms are more noticeable, such as
-red, swollen, and tender gums
-gums that bleed quite easily
-persistent bad breath
-loosening or shifting teeth
Even then, it might not hurt. If you allow gum disease to reign over your mouth, eventually you could compromise your bone structure and lose your teeth entirely. Studies have shown that there is a connection between the infection of gum disease and other serious health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.
How ya feelin’? Feelin’ good? How about we help you stay that way?!
We look forward to hearing from you!