When people think about dentists or healthy smiles, they often focus on teeth. But when it comes to oral health, you cannot forget about your gums. In this article, we will discuss the importance of keeping your gums healthy and disease-free, as well as provide several tips for taking care of them.
Why is Gum Health Important?
There are several reasons you should make gum health a priority. Unhealthy gums can lead to gum disease, of which there are two different stages: gingivitis and periodontitis.
Gingivitis is a more mild form of gum disease; It causes an inflammation of the gums and is caused by plaque and calculus buildup on teeth.
The second stage is periodontitis, and this disease infects the gum tissue more seriously. It creates pockets of space in the gums and causes infection and loss of the supporting bone tissue.
Gum disease can have several negative effects on your life:
Gum disease can lead to persistent bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth.
Teeth can become loose and fall out because of gum disease.
Teeth become overly sensitive to cold and hot.
Gums can become swollen, tender, or bleed often.
Gum disease can affect your overall health. The bacteria from your gums can get into your bloodstream, which can then travel to the arteries in the heart and cause them to harden. This can then decrease or even block blood flow to the rest of the body, increasing the risk of heart attack or stroke.
How do You Keep Your Gums Healthy?
As you can see, gum health should be a priority. Not only does it affect your oral health, but it has serious implications for your overall health. Despite this, approximately 50% of American adults have gum disease. Here are some ways you can protect your gums from disease.
Flossing might be the most important habit for keeping healthy gums, but it’s also the least popular. It’s important that you floss at least once per day. Despite what some trending media articles have said in the past, both the FDA and the ADA emphasize the importance of flossing every day. Flossing removes plaque and food around and under your gums that brushing cannot always reach.
Not only should you floss daily, but you should also make sure you floss properly. The floss should be inserted between your teeth and moved with gentle force. There is no need to force yourself to bleed! It is important to curve the floss in a “C” shape around each tooth, moving it against the tooth and below the gum line in an up-and-down motion.
Brush Twice Per Day
Brushing is also important for your gum health. It removes plaque from your teeth, which is one of the primary causes of gum disease. For optimal gum care, an electronic toothbrush with soft bristles is recommended because it can gently reach under the gumlines. You should also use toothpaste that has fluoride. If you have questions about which toothpaste or toothbrush to use, look at our blog on toothpaste.
The proper way to brush your teeth is to place the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle toward the gumline and brush the front and back surfaces of your teeth. Again, you should use a gentle motion as you go back and forth.
Consider What Goes in Your Mouth
Sugary and acidic foods can cause plaque to grow at a much quicker rate. Drinking soda and energy drinks, for instance, introduces significant amounts of acid and sugar to your teeth and gums that can sit in your mouth and cause significant decay. Sugary foods are also a problem, especially because the food can get stuck in and around your gums, holding the sugar close for extended periods of time.
Smoking and tobacco products are another big culprit. Smoking is strongly associated with the onset of gum disease. Not only that, but it weakens the immune system which makes it more difficult for your body to fight the infections that come with gum disease. So if you want healthy gums, then you need to stop smoking.
Regular Cleanings and Checkups at the Dentist
Professional cleanings are an important part of gum health. Your dentist will have special tools for inspecting and cleaning the area around your gums. They will be able to remove calculus build-up that you could not with your toothbrush.
As long as you visit regularly (for most people it is every six months), they will also be able to recognize the early stages of gum disease before it becomes severe and more difficult to treat. And of course, your dentist can answer questions and assist you with changing habits that will lead to healthier gums.
If you’re in the Johns Creek, Georgia area and looking for a dentist who knows the importance of healthy gums, then look no further than Lifetime Smiles. Dr. Forester has over 35 years of experience, he is a self-professed continuing education junky, and provides state-of-the-art cosmetic and restorative dentistry.
Take the next step towards healthy gums and healthy overall health…contact us today to schedule your appointment.