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WHEREAS, Gum Disease Awareness Month is an annual health-promotion event directed at helping people make lifelong improvements in their health and quality of life by sharing information and spreading awareness with a key message of encouragement to take an active role in preventing gum disease with simple tools and habit changes; and
WHEREAS, gingivitis, the mildest form of gum disease, begins with bacterial growth in the mouth formed from plaque formation on the teeth; and
WHEREAS, if not properly treated, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis, a form of gum disease that leads to damage in underlying tissues and bones and causes tooth loss; and
WHEREAS, risk factors for developing gingivitis include illnesses, cavities, smoking, poor oral hygiene, and family history of dental disease; and
WHEREAS, a growing body of evidence has linked oral health, particularly periodontal disease, to several chronic diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, and stroke; and
WHEREAS, in pregnant women, poor oral health has also been associated with premature births and low birth weight; and
WHEREAS, 47.2% of adults aged 30 years and older have some form of periodontal disease, and 70.1% of adults 65 years and older have periodontal disease; and
WHEREAS, building awareness can improve community health and prevent serious health consequences; and
WHEREAS, reliable oral health information, including how to prevent and treat gum disease, is important to protecting and promoting the oral health, and in turn, the overall health, of the people in our communities; and
WHEREAS, it is important to educate citizens about the advanced treatment options that can help them address the symptoms of moderate to severe gum disease and the dangerous consequences of leaving the disease untreated; and
WHEREAS, Gum Disease Awareness Month supports community health by disseminating important information and the tips and tools to empower citizens to make powerful improvements to their health and the health of their families;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ralph S. Northam, do hereby recognize February 2019 as GUM DISEASE AWARENESS MONTH in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.