Are your gums healthy? Do you know how to find out if they’re healthy? If you’ve said “no” to either of these questions, it’s time to start prioritizing your gums in your daily oral care routine.
Why are gums so important?
Your gums provide the structure for your teeth and hold them in place. People who have gum disease usually experience loose teeth because their gums can’t perform their basic functions. Also, gum tissue acts as a barrier of sorts that covers and protects the bones of your teeth from harmful bacteria. Some bacteria in the mouth is beneficial to your overall mouth environment, but not all. The bacteria can lead to a buildup of plaque against your gum line.
Know what you’re working with!
First and foremost, examine the color of your gums. Are they pink, or red and puffy? If they’re red and puffy, you might have gum disease, and you should go to the dentist right away. If your gums are pink, and they don’t bleed when your brush or floss for the most part, your gums are probably relatively healthy. This is because healthy gums have a firm texture that is resistant to movement and normal brushing and probing. This sort of brushing should be done every day, and the probing should happen when you have a professional cleaning at your dental check up appointments.
You’re not off the hook though. Your gums should also hold tight to each tooth and feel smooth and scalloped in appearance. People who have gum disease usually experience their gums pulling away from their teeth and increased mouth sensitivity. If you notice any changes in your gums, contact your dentist right away.
Gum Disease Doesn’t Mess Around.
Harmful bacteria in your mouth can lead to plaque buildup on your teeth, which, if not properly addressed with the right amount of brushing, flossing, tongue brushing, and mouthwash, can lead to an infection, bleeding, or inflammation of the gums. Sometimes, you won’t notice the symptoms right away: you can’t always see plaque buildup on your teeth or near your gums. So, be sure that you’re taking every preventative measure that you can because these symptoms could lead to gum disease, A.K.A. periodontal disease. There are three stages of gum or periodontal disease, and they are, ranging from least to most severe, gingivitis, periodontitis, and advanced periodontitis.
The first stage of gum disease is characterized by red and swollen gums that bleed easily. At this point, the damage is reversible and can usually be eliminated by a professional cleaning at at dental office followed by twice-daily brushing and flossing.
This an an advanced stage of gum disease that will often lead to your teeth feeling loose in your mouth. They might even start to move around. It’s most common in adults, but it can occur at any age. While some of the damage done at this stage cannot be reversed, there is a nonsurgical treatment that you can get called scaling and root planing. It’s the process by which dentists remove tartar and plaque that attach to the tooth surfaces. Nevertheless, treatment methods depend on how far the condition has progressed.
At this point, people with the disease could be experiencing a myriad of symptoms from teeth falling out to a loss of tissue and bone in different areas of the mouth. There are two main types of surgical treatments that are designed to stop the progression of the disease, which are: periodontal pocket reduction surgery and gum or bone grafts.
Healthy Gums are Right Around the Corner!
So, maybe you do have healthy gums, but do you know the practices to stay away from to ensure that you don’t lose the beautiful pink color and rigid texture of your gums? Not brushing twice a day and flossing at least once a day as well as not getting an annual or bi-annual dental check-up are two of the main contributors. Smoking or chewing tobacco increases your chance of getting gum disease twofold. In addition, a diet that’s high in sugar and carbohydrates and lacking in essential vitamins and minerals helps plaque grow, which can eventually lead to a weaker immune system and an increased risk of gum disease.
Create a Healthier Mouth Starting Now.
To prevent gum disease or to keep it from happening again, you must brush the part of your teeth that runs into your gums religiously, use an antimicrobial mouthwash solution, floss regularly, and brush your tongue. Be sure to maintain a healthy diet as well to keep plaque and tartar at bay. Be sure to schedule cleanings at your dentist’s office once or twice a year. If you smoke or chew tobacco, you’ll want to quit to lessen your chances of contracting the disease.
Gum disease may seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. You’re one brush and flossing away from a healthier mouth!