When it comes to your gums, taking good care of them is vital if you want to keep them healthy so they can protect your pearly whites. Neglecting your gums can lead to periodontal (gum) disease, an infection of the oral tissues that anchor your teeth in their place.
When you don’t brush and floss daily as recommended, harmful dental plaque (that sticky bacterial biofilm that you can feel coating your teeth) can build up. When plaque is not removed daily, it will harden and damage your teeth. If gum disease is not treated, it can easily leave you with sore, bleeding gums that hurt when you chew and eventually leave you with tooth loss!
Your mouth is a bacterial hotspot that mixes with saliva, mucus and bits of food particles to form plaque. It takes your daily brushing and flossing habit to control plaque; that and your twice-yearly dental cleanings to remove tartar (hardened plaque) using special scaling tools.
Note: Gum disease is insidious; you may not even know you have it! That’s why your regular dental cleanings and exams are so important.
To keep your gums healthy, you will also want to avoid smoking, one of the biggest contributors to gum disease. In fact, smoking weakens your immune system, so it is harder to prevent and fight a gum infection and for your gums to heal once they are infected.
Biggest Risk Factors for Gum Disease
- Hormonal fluctuations in women
- Medications causing dry mouth
- Genetic disposition
Common Red Flags for Gum Disease
- Persistent halitosis
- Gum inflammation
- Red, sore, swollen or bleeding gums
- Tooth sensitivity
- Painful chewing
- Loose teeth
- Receding gums
- Loose teeth
If you notice any of these red flags, we recommend seeking help! Our periodontist can evaluate the health of your gums and measure any developing pockets around your teeth. The greater the depth of the pockets, the more your gums will need help. X-rays will also help assess your bone density, and if there is bone loss, you will need treatment to keep your smile safe.
With gum disease, the culprit is oral infection which we will need to treat. Combined with your stepped-up oral care at home, we can help you protect your gums. And if you smoke, you will seriously need to consider quitting if you want your gums to recover.
What You Can Do
You can step up your daily oral health routine by brushing at least twice a day using fluoride toothpaste to protect your enamel. You should also brush your tongue to get rid of accumulated oral bacteria.
Make sure your toothbrush bristles are soft and that the head fits into your mouth easily for maneuverability. If you don’t like to brush as recommended, consider investing in a battery-powered or electric toothbrush, which gets rid of plaque effectively.
Flossing daily helps get rid of trapped food particles and diminishes plaque development. The flossing tool you choose doesn’t matter so much as finding one you like using and then doing it daily! Dental floss, floss picks, or an oral irrigator are all great as long as you use it, whether it’s morning, after lunch, or dinner!
Adding a therapeutic mouthwash rinse to your daily routine can also help! Find one that fights dental plaque and treats gingivitis to help prevent tartar growth. Rinsing daily can also help wash away oral debris. And finally, don’t skip your routine dental visits if you want to keep your gums healthy.
Seek Help When Needed
When gum disease is caught in the early stages, it can be reversed! Advanced gum disease that isn’t managed will ultimately lead to bone and tissue loss which can’t be reversed. It can destroy the gums, bones and connective tissues holding your teeth, impacting your bite and requiring tooth extraction. If you need help with your gums, we invite you to reach out to our team for an appointment. We look forward to helping you keep your gums safe for a healthier smile!