Gum Health Basics
When it comes to oral health, our gums somethings get neglected in favor of a focus on our teeth. Nevertheless, our gums still play an absolutely crucial role in our smile. Not only is some of the gum tissue visible when we grin, but our gums are partly responsible for protecting the sensitive root for each tooth and work with the root to hold our teeth securely in place.
Failing to look after our teeth can have serious consequences for the health and longevity of our smile. To help ensure that you enjoy a bright, attractive smile and a healthy mouth, here are the gum health basics that you need to be aware of.
Your gums can be affected by the plaque on your teeth
Plaque is the clear, sticky substance that accumulates on your teeth if you don’t clean them regularly. It is created from the interaction of bacteria naturally present in our mouths with sugars in the foods that we eat, and it is a plaque that can eventually lead to dental decay if left untreated. However, that isn’t all you need to worry about. If left untreated, the plaque that grows on your teeth can spread onto the soft tissue of the gums where it causes irritation, infection and eventually, gum disease. Therefore, it is essential that you remove all traces of plaque each and every time you brush as this will reduce your risk of developing gum disease.
Gum disease is a progressive condition that can have serious consequences for your teeth and general health
Many people think that gum disease is merely an irritating condition that causes a little soreness, swelling and occasional bleeding of the gums. While these are most certainly the early signs of gum disease, they are also very mild and subtle problems associated with the condition. Gum disease is progressive and as it worsens, you can experience a range of debilitating issues including severe halitosis, abscesses, extreme sensitivity and pain, gum recession, loose teeth and eventually tooth loss. Worse still, gum disease has also been linked to other serious health problems in other parts of the body, with patients who have moderate to severe gum disease (known as periodontal disease or periodontitis) more likely to develop stroke, diabetes, heart disease, liver disorder, and Alzheimer’s disease. As you can see, it really is important to look after your gums too!
Gum disease can be prevented
The good news is that gum disease is entirely preventable provided you commit to a very comprehensive oral care routine at home and visit your dentist regularly. Twice daily brushing using a soft-bristled brush and a fluoride toothpaste is recommended for everyone and is the best way to help keep dental problems at bay. However, you must also make the effort to floss – ideally daily. This is because our teeth have tiny crevices between them that are large enough to trap food particles and bacteria, but too small for the bristles of a toothbrush to be able to clean them properly. This is where floss comes in. This thin string gets passed back and forth between teeth to remove food, bacteria and any plaque that has already started to form!
If you want to enjoy truly healthy gums, you should try and give up smoking! Not only is it bad for your general health, but research has found an irrefutable link between patients who smoke and those who develop gum disease. It also weakens your immune system, which makes it much harder to fight off a gum infection. Stubbing out those cigarettes has never been more important for your oral health.
If you are concerned about the health of your gums and would like more advice, please contact our friendly and knowledgeable team of experts who will be happy to offer their support.
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