Did you know that September is National Gum Care Month?
Gums are an important part of your oral and dental health and they are often forgotten and underappreciated, especially in children. Consistent brushing and clean teeth may be your top priority for your child’s teeth, but strong and healthy gums are just as important to their oral health.
Unhealthy gums can lead to gum disease which is one of the main causes of tooth loss and has been linked to a number of other health issues.
Here are some things you should know about gums:
WHAT DO HEALTHY GUMS LOOK LIKE?
Healthy gums are pink in color, but this can vary based on complexion to include tan or light brown. Healthy gums are also firm versus swollen or puffy.
WHY ARE HEALTHY GUMS IMPORTANT?
While cavity prevention is often the first thing that comes to mind for mouth health, healthy gums are also important. Your gums are a thick tissue that surround and protect your teeth. Healthy gums are not just important to your mouth, but your overall health. Studies show that those with periodontal disease have a higher risk of diabetes and heart disease.
WHAT IS GINGIVITIS?
Gums that are inflamed due to excess plaque that has stayed in the mouth too long and hardened into tartar can be a sign of gingivitis. Gingivitis results in red and swollen gums that tend to bleed when you brush. The first step to treat gingivitis is usually a professional cleaning.
WHAT IS PERIODONTAL DISEASE?
Periodontal disease is a more advanced stage of gingivitis. Signs include those for gingivitis, as well as loose teeth, receding gums, and bad breath. Treatment for periodontal disease varies depending on severity.
HOW CAN YOU PREVENT GUM DISEASE?
It’s simple! Brush and floss your teeth regularly to avoid plaque buildup. Use a soft-bristle brush that’s gentle and massaging to the gums, and brush in a circular motion. For children over the age of six, an alcohol- and sugar-free mouthwash with an anti-cavity substance like sodium fluoride can be an additional tool against hard-to-reach plaque buildup.
Finally, don’t miss your child’s six-month dental checkup. Our dental hygienists thoroughly clean your teeth, and our pediatric dentists will provide fluoride treatments, sealants, and fun preventative home care programs to maintain healthy teeth and gums!