You’ve probably paid a lot of attention to your teeth and how best to take care of them over the years, but how much thought have you given to your gums? Do you really know why it’s so important to keep them healthy? And what have you done to make sure they’re as well-protected as your choppers? Since September is National Gum Care Month, it’s the perfect time to really consider these questions.
Why is Gum Health So Important?
Your gums help keep your teeth attached to your mouth and help protect their roots from decay. However, if you let plaque and tartar build up inside your mouth, your gums can become infected, and at that point they could start doing your teeth – and your health overall – a lot of harm.
Gum disease starts as a relatively mild condition called gingivitis. The gums might become red, swollen and tender. They’ll generally tend to bleed easily when you floss or chew on something hard. If you get treatment at this stage, you’ll avoid more painful and longer lasting problems later.
However, if gingivitis is ignored, it can become periodontitis. At this point, the gums will start to recede, meaning they expose more of the tooth and form pockets. This gives oral bacteria a good opportunity to attack the jawbone and the tooth roots, eventually destroying them; you could easily start losing your teeth.
Sometimes gum disease might hurt more than just your smile. Many studies have suggested that bacteria can enter the bloodstream through your gums and travel throughout your body. This might contribute to cardiac problems like heart attack and stroke; it may also play a role in Alzheimer’s disease.
How Can You Take Care of Your Gums?
You don’t need to do anything special to take care of your gums. Many of the best practices for avoiding gum disease are just good oral hygiene habits in general. This includes:
- Brushing Twice a Day: Don’t forget to brush at and near the gum line. Use a soft nylon brush and use gentle circular motions; brushing too hard can damage your teeth and irritate your gums.
- Floss Daily: You don’t need to dig into your gums; instead, focus on scraping plaque off the sides of your teeth with gentle sawing motions.
- Rinse Every Day: An antibacterial mouthwash can help get rid of any plaque you missed while brushing or flossing. For red or swollen gums, rinsing with salt water a couple of times each week can help the healing process.
- Regular Checkups: You should have at least two dental checkups each year – possibly more often if you’ve noticed possible signs of gum disease.
Ask your dentist about other ways you can keep your gums in good shape and make an appointment for periodontal treatment right away if you think there’s a problem. By taking the right steps to prevent and treat problems with your gums, you can maintain a happier, healthier grin for a long time.
About the Practice
At the Dentists of Newtown, our team of highly trained specialists and dental experts can bring you comprehensive dental care under one roof. We offer various treatments for gum disease; for example, we can perform a deep cleaning with two procedures known as scaling and root planing. If you have concerns about gum disease or want to schedule an appointment, visit our website or call (215) 579-9900.