Gum Disease Awareness Month

February is Gum Disease Awareness Month — a national campaign aimed at spreading awareness of the risk factors, symptoms and treatment options available.

The campaign also tries to help people make lifelong improvements to their health and quality of life.

Gum disease is an infection of the tissues that surround and support your teeth, according to the American Dental Association. It is a major cause of tooth loss in adults.

Because gum disease is usually painless, you may not know you have it. Also referred to as periodontal disease, gum disease is caused by plaque, the sticky film of bacteria that is constantly forming on our teeth.

Some warning sides of gum disease include:

  • Gums that bleed easily.

  • Red, swollen, tender gums.

  • Gums that have pulled away from the teeth.

  • Persistent bad breath or bad taste.

  • Any change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite.

  • Any change in the fit of partial dentures.

The factors that increase the risk of developing gum disease include: poor oral hygiene; smoking or chewing tobacco; genetics; crooked teeth that are hard to keep clean; pregnancy; diabetes; and some medications.

For more information on gum disease, visit

© 2017 American Dental Association. All rights reserved. Reproduction or republication is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission from the American Dental Association.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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Top Ways to Prevent GUM DISEASE:

  • Proper brushing and flossing

  • Using antibacterial toothpaste and mouthwash to kill bacteria

  • Biannual dental visits for cleanings and checkups