Only You Can Prevent Gum Disease

Only You Can Prevent Gum Disease

The world may see your friendly smile, but what’s going on behind it? The inside of your mouth is home to millions of bacteria. Along with tooth decay, gum disease can boost your risk for tooth loss and serious illnesses if not kept in check.

Gum disease often isn’t found until it’s advanced. But here’s the good news: Proper care can often prevent it and keep your mouth healthy.

Gum disease – also called periodontal disease – is a worry for more than one-in-three people 30 and older. Take care of your mouth so you’re not one of them.

Prevention is Best

In its early form, professional care and good daily care may be able to reverse gum disease. Follow these basic tips to stop it:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day.
  • Floss each day.
  • Eat healthy foods.
  • Skip sugary snacks.
  • See your dentist for routine visits, target every six months.
  • Never use tobacco products.

Gum disease causes gums to redden and bleed. It can also damage gum tissue and bone, causing teeth to loosen and fall out.

Know the Facts

Information is power. The more you know about gum disease, the better prepared you are to combat it. Here are a few important takeaways:

  • Bacteria causes gum disease.
  • It may damage one tooth or many.
  • It can be a long-term health issue.
  • Gingivitis is a mild form of the disease.

Studies show a link between gum disease and heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity and high-risk pregnancy.

Look for the Warning Signs

Gum disease is the leading reason for tooth loss in people over age 35, according to the American Academy of Periodontologyleaving site icon Smoking is the main reason in more than half of all cases in adults.

Watch for these symptoms:

  • Swollen gums
  • Red gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • Loose or separating teeth
  • Bad breath 

Schedule an appointment with your dentist to talk about gum disease. Together you can decide on the best approach in caring for your teeth and gums.

Be sure to check your plan benefits for information about dental coverage. For more facts on the connection between oral health and overall health, visit bcbsmt.com. Log in to Blue Access for MembersSM, go to the “My Coverage” tab and then “Dental” to visit the Dental Wellness Center.

Sources: Periodontal Disease Fact Sheet, leaving site icon American Academy of Periodontology, 2021. Gum Disease and Heart Disease, leaving site icon American Academy of Periodontology, 2021; Diabetes and Oral Health, leaving site icon National Institutes of Health, 2020.

Originally published 6/7/2016; Revised 2021

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