National Gum Care Awareness Month is an opportunity to stress the importance of how important it is to take care of our teeth and gums.
Gum care includes flossing between our teeth daily, tooth-brushing the front, back, and top surfaces of our teeth daily, and gentle brushing of gum tissues adjacent to our teeth, our cheeks and tongue.
Our teeth and gums harbor bacterial plaque, a known precursor for periodontal (gum) disease. Bacterial plaque is a soft, sticky, colorless film that forms on our teeth and gums. If not removed, the presence of bacterial plaque will cause an inflammatory response that impacts our mouth and our body.
How effective is your gum care routine?
The health of your teeth and gums impacts the outward appearance of your smile.
How would you rate the health of your gums? Healthy or unhealthy?
Healthy gums appear light pink, firm, and don’t bleed.
Unhealthy gums appear red and puffy, feel sore, and often bleed while brushing and flossing. Unhealthy gums are a sign that you may have periodontal (gum) disease. Left untreated, can lead to tooth loss.
Periodontal (Gum) Disease: What is it?
Periodontal disease, also called gum disease, is a chronic, bacterial infection caused by dental plaque (a soft, sticky colorless, bacterial film) that affects the gum tissue and the bone that supports and holds your teeth in your jawbone.
Periodontal disease is the #1 reason for tooth loss
Are you at risk for gum disease?
Signs & Symptoms of Periodontal Disease
- Bad breath
- Gums bleed while brushing and/or flossing
- Gums appear red and puffy
- Gums are tender while eating
- Visible accumulation of plaque and hard tartar (calculus) on your teeth
Additional Risk Factors Include:
- Poor nutrition
- Smoking and/or use of smokeless tobacco
- Respiratory disease
- Heart disease
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Family history of periodontal disease
Early detection and screening for gum disease by your dentist or dental hygienist is the best way to prevent the onset of periodontal disease.
Know Your Numbers: Gum Disease Screening
A periodontal probe (pictured right) is a measuring instrument that your dental hygienist or dentist will use to check your teeth and gums for gum disease.
The periodontal probe is a blunt instrument with markings similar to a ruler. Your dental hygienist will slide the ruler gently into the space between your tooth and gum and record six measurements in millimeters per tooth.
There is no pain or discomfort during this process.
Periodontal Screening Measurements
What do the numbers mean?
3mm and under is considered healthy
4mm indicates the presence of inflammation
5mm and above indicate the permanent loss of bone support around the measured tooth
Call Dentistry for the Entire Family (763) 586-9988 to schedule a professional teeth cleaning and gum disease screening today.
Diagnosis: Healthy Teeth to Advanced Periodontitis
Your dental hygienist in collaboration with your dentist will review your measurements, clinical observations, as well as your digital dental x-rays to determine if you’re at risk for or have periodontal disease.
The chart below provides an overview of the various stages of gum disease gingivitis, early to advanced periodontitis, and potential loss of teeth if left untreated.
- Gums appear light pink and firm
- No bleeding during brushing and flossing
- Periodontal probe measurements are 3mm and below
- Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums
- Gingivitis is reversible with meticulous home care following a professional teeth cleaning to remove bacterial plaque, stain, and hard tartar (calculus) from your teeth
- Left untreated, gingivitis will progress to periodontitis, permanent loss of bone that supports your teeth
- Periodontitis is the permanent loss of bone support that holds teeth in place
- Periodontitis is not reversible
- Periodontitis treatment requires periodontal therapy and frequent followup periodontal teeth cleaning visits in order to minimize continued loss of bone support
- Left untreated, periodontitis will progress and lead to tooth loss
- There is no known cure for periodontitis
Prevention is the #1 way to prevent gum disease
Healthy Gums Recipe
Professional Teeth Cleaning
Periodontal (Gum) Disease Screening
Brush your teeth daily for two minutes with an electric or manual toothbrush. Don’t forget to brush you tongue and cheeks too!
Floss all teeth daily and as needed between meals for problem areas.
Visit your dentist every six months. Have your teeth professionally cleaned and screened for signs of periodontal disease every six months.
Take care of your gums. Know your numbers.