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Did you know that, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), almost half of Americans over the age of 30 have some form of periodontal disease? When it comes to people over the age of 65, the prevalence is a whopping 70 percent. Even worse, gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss among adults. Plus research shows that unhealthy gums are associated with systemic health problems like heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. That’s why it’s so important to keep your gums healthy.

Periodontal disease, or gum disease, may be common, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take it seriously or resign yourself to having it. Since February is Gum Disease Awareness Month, we’re taking this opportunity to remind you that healthy gums are an integral part of your smile.

For your smile and for your overall well-being, resolve to keep your gums healthy. Fortunately, it’s not that hard. An important part of that equation is visiting 1st in Smiles in Plano, TX twice a year for cleanings and exams. You can call us at 972-380-8105 or request an appointment online.

In the meantime, we’ve shared three important ways to keep your gums healthy.

Practice Good Oral Hygiene at Home

Dental visits are important, but most of the year it’s up to you to keep your mouth clean. Like tooth decay, periodontal disease is caused by bacteria. A thorough and consistent hygiene routine keeps your oral bacteria under control and your gums healthy. We recommend:

  • Brushing twice daily, every day, using a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Brush for two minutes at a time, being sure to clean at the gumline.
  • Flossing every day, getting between every tooth and even under the gumline.
  • Rinsing with an antiseptic mouthwash.

Don’t Smoke to Reduce Risk of Gum Disease

You already know that smoking is bad for you in a variety of ways. In addition to being at high risk for cancer and other diseases, smokers are far more likely to suffer from gum disease than non-smokers. Smokers also have lowered immune systems, which means their periodontal disease can resistant to treatment, putting them at risk for tooth loss and other complications. Quit smoking to keep your gums healthy!

Visit Us Regularly to Keep Your Gums Healthy

Regular dental visits are important because we will be able to clean your mouth more effectively than you are able to do at home, removing even stuck-on plaque and tartar, which teem with disease-causing bacteria. Dr. Barfield will also give you a thorough examination, spotting early signs of gum problems before you’ve even noticed any symptoms. This enables us to get an early start on treatment before your disease progresses.

Is Gum Disease Treatable?

The good news is that gum disease is reversible! The sooner it’s diagnosed, the easier it is to treat. If your disease is discovered in its earliest stages, we will likely have you focus on practicing excellent oral hygiene at home — both brushing and flossing — and coming in for your twice-yearly dental visits. Often that’s enough to bring your gums back to health.

If your periodontal disease has progressed, you may require a deep-cleaning treatment called scaling and root planing to clean beneath the gum line. This procedure is performed under local anesthesia. We may also place an antibiotic in your gum pockets. Unlike most dentists, we also offer treatment from a periodontist, a gum specialist. Our periodontist is available once a week for appointments.

We’re happy to help you keep your gums healthy! Call us right away at 972-380-8105 if you notice any symptoms of gum disease:

  • Bleeding gums
  • Painful gums
  • Gums that look bright red instead of pink
  • Bad breath that won’t go away
  • Teeth that look longer than they used to