February marks the sixth annual Gum Disease Awareness Month, dedicated to educating the public about the prevalence and consequences of periodontitis, as well as its treatment and prevention methods. Launched by the Institute for Advanced Laser Dentistry (IALD) in 2012, its goal is to ensure patients and doctors are fully aware of what untreated gum disease can do to the body.
Recognized in all 50 states and in Guam and the Virgin Islands, Gum Disease Awareness Month is an opportunity for all dental professionals to discuss the signs and symptoms of the disease. Gum disease’s consequences go beyond tooth loss, with research linking periodontitis to heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, still birth, pre-term birth, low birth weight, erectile dysfunction, and infertility.
“We could not be more proud that the entire United States and several territories officially recognize Gum Disease Awareness Month,” said Dawn M. Gregg, DDS, training director for the IALD. “This movement continues to grow, as it should, to educate patients about the importance of oral health respective to total health. Together, we can expose this silent killer.”
The IALD also offers fightgumdisease.com as an educational resource about gum disease for patients, including explanations of treatment options. According to the IALD, select treatments are more successful at eliminating the bacteria and endotoxins that cause gum disease than others, and successful treatment is the key to sustaining oral health. Successful periodontal treatment, the IALD adds, has also been shown to decrease total healthcare costs.
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