The Importance of Taking Care of Your Gums
Taking care of your gums is an essential part of good oral health. Even if you’re cavity free and your teeth are shining, gum disease is a silent enemy not many people take into consideration, but can lead to infections, tooth decay and even bone breakdown.
The early stages of gum disease are usually painless and many people don’t even realize there’s anything wrong. However, plaque build up under and along the gum line can lead to infections damaging the gum and bone. Learning how to identify and prevent these infections by taking care of your gums is important.
What Causes Gum Disease?
The main cause of gum diseases is a buildup of plaque along and under the gum line. Plaque is a sticky film like substance filled with bacteria that forms on your teeth and covers them. When plaque stays on your teeth too long it can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.
Plaque develops when food containing sugar and starches such as soft drinks, milk or sweets, are frequently left on the teeth. The bacteria living in your mouth thrive on these foods and produce acids as a result. If left unattended, these acids can destroy tooth enamel causing tooth decay, while plaque developing under the gum can lead to gingivitis or periodontitis, which impacts the bone supporting the tooth, causing serious damage to the gums, bones and tissues connected to your teeth.
A few symptoms of gum disease include tender, red or swollen gums that are prone to bleeding, consistent bad taste or breath, and teeth that are separating or loose. Fortunately, when caught early this damage can be reversible.
Certain people are more prone to plaque build up, such as older adults and pregnant women, as well as people suffering from diabetes or cancer. However, healthy habits like brushing and flossing, can prevent plaque buildup and everything associated with it.
Taking Care of Your Gums In a Few Simple Steps
Good oral health doesn’t require much sacrifice, and taking care of your gums is simply a matter of adding a few healthy habits to your daily routine.
Daily Flossing and Brushing
Brushing your teeth twice a day using a soft bristle brush and toothpaste with fluoride helps protect teeth from decay. It’s important to brush for about 2 minutes each time, taking the time to gently brush along the gum line and your tongue.
Flossing helps remove plaque and any food between your teeth that may have been missed by your toothbrush. Don’t forget to rinse your mouth with water afterwards.
Get Regular Dental Cleanings
Visiting your dentist is an important aspect of taking care of your gums and oral health in general. You should schedule a cleaning and checkup every 6 months, or at least once a year.
By visiting your dentist on a regular basis, early gum disease symptoms can be detected and treated before they become serious, and a professional cleaning is the only way to remove tartar which is plaque that’s been on the teeth for too long and has solidified.
Use a Therapeutic Mouthwash
Therapeutic mouthwashes with the ADA seal can help reduce plaque and prevent or reduce gingivitis by slowing down the speed in which tartar develops. A good rinse helps remove food particles and debris from your mouth. This is a great complement to your regular brushing and flossing routine.
Avoid unhealthy habits
Cutting down on sugary foods and drinks, maintaining a balanced diet, and limiting the number of between-meal snacks is a sure fire way to help prevent plaque buildup. Smoking and drinking alcohol regularly weaken your immune system which makes it harder to fight off gum infection and healing once your gums have been damaged. Therefore, it’s important to drink alcohol in moderation and quit smoking.
As you can see, taking care of your gums is a matter of mostly prevention and adopting healthy habits. By paying close attention to your oral health you’ll be reducing the risk of not only gum disease, but many other conditions that can negatively affect your smile and oral health.