When it comes to a healthy, happy mouth, it’s not simply about the whiteness or straightness of your teeth. Taking care of your gums is essential in maintaining good oral hygiene, and can affect your overall health as well.
Your gums are designed to cover and protect the bones of your teeth by forming a tight seal around them. This creates a barrier to stop bacteria from entering the bloodstream and provides support to the bones. This barrier can be broken down by plaque and bacteria, so it’s essential to look after your gums by brushing, flossing, and regular trips to the dentist. If plaque is not removed, toxins that irritate the gums can be released. In turn, this can lead to gum disease.
Here we’ll be looking at the key reasons why it’s important to look after your gums and what you can do to protect them.
What Problems Can Poor Gum Health Cause?
Poor gum health can lead to gum disease, which many people don’t realise they have until it’s too late. It begins with plaque build-up along the gum line, which can cause infections. Plaque may also cause gingivitis, which is the first stage of gum disease. Gingivitis can cause inflamed, red, bleeding gums, but this damage can be reversed.
When left untreated, you may develop periodontitis, which is a more advanced form of gum disease. This affects not only the gums but the bones that hold your teeth in place. Advanced periodontitis occurs when the bone and tissue that support your teeth are destroyed. This can cause difficulty with eating, gum recession, painful abscesses, and may result in the need for teeth to be removed.
Symptoms of gum disease include:
- Gums that bleed easily
- Bad breath that doesn’t go away
- Loose teeth
- Swollen, tender gums
Poor Overall Health
Medical research has suggested that poor gum health may be a factor in other severe health conditions. People who have developed periodontitis are at a greater risk of developing respiratory infections and cardiovascular diseases. This is because of the bacteria and plaque that is able to enter the bloodstream when gum disease occurs.
How Can I Look After My Gums?
Brush Your Teeth Twice a Day
Keeping your teeth clean helps protect your gums. Brush after every meal to remove food and plaque that gets stuck between your teeth and gums. You should also give your tongue a good scrub with the toothbrush, as it holds lots of bacteria.
Make sure that you are using a toothbrush that suits you. It should fit comfortably inside your mouth, and the bristles shouldn’t cause pain or discomfort when you brush.
Electric toothbrushes are more effective for getting rid of plaque than manual brushes, so you should consider upgrading.
Whether disposable or manual, don’t forget to replace your toothbrush or toothbrush head every 3-4 months. If the bristles have started to split or fray, replace sooner.
While brushing is an essential part of dental hygiene, you can’t reach all parts of your mouth with a brush alone. Flossing your teeth every day can help remove any plaque or food trapped between your teeth that can’t be reached by your toothbrush.
Get Regular Dental Cleaning
Seeing your dentist on a regular basis is the best way to prevent gum problems such as gum disease. A dentist can detect the early signs of gum disease and treat symptoms before they become more serious.
Furthermore, professional cleaning at your dental practice is the only way to get a totally clean mouth – so make sure you book in for your next cleaning! A professional cleaning will get rid of tartar, as well as any plaque and debris that you’ve not been able to reach when brushing and flossing at home. Our friendly staff at Dentrix Dental are more than happy to conduct a professional cleaning for you and give personalised advice as to how you can brush better at home.
Remember – looking after your gums is crucial, so don’t forget to include gum care in your daily routine, and get regular checks at the dentist.