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September Is National Gum Care Month!

At Mettler and Griego Family Dentistry in Glendale, we take gum health seriously because we know how important healthy gums are to your overall well being. September is National Gum Care Month, so we’re taking this opportunity to inform our patients about how to improve their gum health. 

Why Are Healthy Gums So Important? 

Along with your tooth enamel, the gums help protect your teeth from infection. They prevent bacteria and food particles from reaching the roots of your teeth, which could cause infections and other issues.

Did you know that gum health is also linked to your overall wellness? Because gum disease introduces bacteria into your bloodstream, which can complicate diseases like high blood pressure and Alzheimer’s. Additionally, studies show that people with gum disease may develop a higher risk of certain types of cancer. 

What Does Gum Disease Look Like? 

Gum disease begins with plaque—a sticky substance that clings to your teeth and gums, causing cavities and infections. Plaque buildup eventually leads to gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease. 

Signs of gingivitis include:

  • Gum inflammation and swelling
  • Gums that look very red
  • Gum tenderness
  • Slight bleeding when brushing or flossing
  • Gums that look like they are pulling away from the teeth
  • You notice a change in your chewing pattern or it hurts to chew
  • Your breath suddenly smells bad

If you do not improve your gum health, gingivitis will progress into periodontal disease—a more serious gum disease that ultimately leads to tooth loss and bone loss. 

How Can I Heal My Gums?

Thankfully, there are quite a few ways you can stop gum disease in its tracks, and help prevent it from ever starting. Here are some ways to improve gum health: 

  1. Brush your teeth thoroughly, yet gently, at least twice a day. Brushing teeth too hard can damage the gums, causing them to bleed and possibly letting in bacteria. 
  2. Floss every day! Flossing helps eliminate food stuck in the gums around your teeth, as well as plaque your toothbrush can’t reach. 
  3. Limit how much sugar you eat. The average American eats about 152 pounds of sugar each year! Bacteria love sugar, too, and the more sugar you consume, the more bacteria will attack your gums and teeth. 
  4. Increase your vitamin intake. Vitamins like C, D, and E help boost the body’s immune system, lower inflammation, and keep gum tissues healthy. Studies also show that omega-3 fatty acids and zinc have positive impacts on gum health. 
  5. Stop smoking! Every time you light up, you weaken your body’s natural immune system. This makes it more difficult for your gums to fight off infections, and health when you do have gum disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), smokers have twice the risk of developing gum disease and increase their risk the longer they smoke. 

How to Improve Gum Health 

Although proper home oral care is important, regular dental cleanings every six months are vital to help improve gum health. We can help you prevent and even reverse the early signs of gum disease. If it’s been a while since your last cleaning, schedule one today with Mettler and Griego Family Dentistry in Glendale by calling 623-487-4870 or visiting mettlergriego.com.

Image by Lesly Juarez on Unsplash