Our gums play an integral role in dental health and fulfil the important job of holding our teeth in place. Understanding how to get healthy gums and keep them healthy will go a long way in helping you to avoid gum disease. Because gum disease is usually painless it is possible to have gum disease and not be aware of it. Let’s take a closer look at how you can get healthy gums.
Gum disease is caused by accumulated plaque that develops under your gum line. Plaque is made up of food, bacteria, mucus and other particles. If it is not removed the bacteria in the plaque can cause infections. Over time these infections can lead to gum disease and tooth decay. When the plaque hardens it turns into tartar, a substance that can only be removed by your dentist.
Gum disease is characterised by three stages:
When you have gingivitis your gums may be red and inflamed or swollen. They may also bleed more easily. Gingivitis can usually be reversed through good dental hygiene.
If you do not treat gingivitis it can develop into periodontitis, which affects the bones that keep your teeth in position. Periodontitis is identified by swollen or red gums that bleed easily. Your gums may recede from your teeth and pockets of infections may develop.
When periodontitis is left untreated the infected pockets get bigger and bone is destroyed. If periodontitis is not managed it can spread into your gums, tissues and bones that are connected to your teeth. Your teeth may loosen and start to drift out of position.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Gum Disease?
It is possible to have gum disease without symptoms but these are common symptoms:
• Gums that bleed easily
• Tender or red gums
• A constant bad taste in your mouth or bad breath
• Gums that have receded from your teeth
• Loose or separated teeth.
Tips For Healthy Gums
So just how can you keep your gums healthy and free of disease? The best approach is sound dental hygiene.
Flossing your teeth at least once a day is essential to get rid of the plaque that your toothbrush can’t get to. Flossing twice a day is better but if you can only manage it once, do it.
Brush twice a day. Don’t forget to scrape your tongue, as this is where a lot of bacteria hang out. Remember to brush your teeth at a 45-degree angle so that you can clean against your gums properly. Make sure you use a fluoride-based toothpaste.
Visit your dentist regularly for healthy gums. Regular visits to your dentist will ensure that any early warning signs of gum disease are acted on as quickly as possible.
Stopping smoking is also a good move as smoking has been linked to higher incidences of gum disease. Smoking weakens your immunity, making it more difficult for you to fight off infection. It also makes it more difficult for your gums to health themselves if you do get an infection.
Eat a healthy and varied diet that supports strong teeth and gums. This means you should include a lot of calcium in your diet. Avoid eating food that contains a lot of sugar. If you do eat food with high sugar content be sure to brush your teeth afterwards or at the very least, rinse your mouth with water.
What Are The Risk Factors For Gum Disease?
Some people are more predisposed to it than others. Smokers or people who use chewing tobacco are at greater risk of developing gum disease, as are girls and women going through hormonal changes. People who have diabetes and those using certain medications that suppress their immunity may also be at higher risk. Of course, heredity plays some role as well.
Need more tips for healthy gums? Contact Randwick Smiles for professional advice today. Call us (02) 8188 4625.