When was the last time you thought about your gum health? Chances are, you probably don’t think about your gum health very often, if at all. However, just because you don’t always think about it, doesn’t mean that your gum health isn’t important. In fact, your gum health matters more than you may think. This is because your gums are one of the main tissues responsible for keeping your teeth in place. Healthy gums usually mean healthier teeth, while unhealthy gums can mean trouble for your teeth as well.
One of the most common problems that can affect your gums is gum disease, such as gingivitis and periodontitis. Although both are types of gum disease, they are differentiated by their severity. Gingivitis is the mild form that can be reversed with proper treatment, while periodontitist is an advanced form of gum disease that can only be managed to prevent it from getting worse. Unfortunately, if periodontitis is not treated properly, this can cause the gums to pull away from the teeth causing them to become loose or fall out. In some cases of advanced periodontitis, bone resorption of the jawbone can also occur.
To decrease the risk of gum disease and to keep your gums healthy, there are a few things that you can do. These things can also be used to manage gum disease to prevent it from getting worse. Here are some ways to improve or maintain your gum health:
Brush Twice a Day
Dental plaque houses thousands of bacteria that are responsible for causing tooth decay and gum disease. Brushing your teeth twice a day removes excess plaque and decreases the amount of bacteria in your mouth. Although you may think that brushing your teeth is only beneficial for your teeth, it is also beneficial to keeping your gums healthy since it removes the bacteria responsible for gum disease. For more brushing benefits, be sure to use a fluoridated toothpaste and a new toothbrush every 3-4 months.
While brushing your teeth removes a large amount of plaque from the surface of your teeth, flossing helps to remove even more plaque from hard to reach areas like between your teeth and along the gum line. Flossing is especially important for protecting your gum health because it removes the plaque along the gum line that comes into direct contact with your gums and causes gum disease. While you will benefit from flossing at any time of day, the best time to floss is actually prior to bedtime, just before you brush your teeth. This is because it removes excess debris from your mouth and allows the fluoride from your toothpaste to get in between your teeth and along your gums.
Schedule Dental Cleanings
Even if you are diligent about your brushing and flossing routine, you will still need to schedule regular dental cleanings at least every six months. In some cases, your dentist may recommend more frequent visits to preserve your oral health or to treat an existing case of gum disease. Dental cleanings are much more thorough than your daily dental routine and they remove both plaque and tartar, while your routine can only remove plaque. Tartar is hardened dental plaque that can cause pockets of bacteria to form in the gums, so getting it removed is very important for preventing gum disease and keeping your gums healthy.
Another thing you can do to improve your gum health is to use an over the counter mouthrinse, especially after meals. Mouthrinses help to decrease the risk of gum disease by making it harder for plaque and tartar to accumulate on the surface of your teeth. However, mouthrinse should only be used in addition to proper brushing and flossing and should never replace your usual dental routine.
There is absolutely no health benefit to smoking and it causes a number of health problems. One of these is gum disease. Smoking weakens your body’s immune system, dries out your mouth, and dramatically increases the risk of developing a rapidly progressing case of gum disease. Therefore, you should quit in order to improve your gum health.
Dr. Victor Bustos graduated from Florida International University with an undergraduate degree in Chemistry and Biology and then continued on to obtain his DMD from the University of Florida College of Dentistry. He strives to always stay current on the newest techniques and continuously attends dental continuing education courses and workshops to further his knowledge and hone his skills. Dr Bustos’ greatest satisfaction comes from helping patients achieve their dental goals.