Many people take gum health for granted. While the cleanliness and colour of teeth are prioritised, gum health tends to be overlooked.
Did you know that the health of your gums can have an effect on your physical health if they are neglected? Clean and health teeth is a large part of having a beautiful smile. But so is the overall health of your gums.
The Function of Gums
Your gums are an incredible physical mechanism designed to protect your teeth and prevent diseases from developing in your mouth. Your gums are comprised of a soft skin which covers the bones of your mouth and teeth. This tissue forms a tight seal around the teeth to keep them in place and provide a barrier against bacteria. Without the correct gum care, bacteria and food particles can find their way in and around your teeth, which could lead to gum disease.
Gum Disease and How It Affects Your Health
The human mouth is a hive of bacteria – no matter how often you clean your teeth and gums, your mouth will always harbour bacteria. Much like the intestines, some of this bacteria is good and bad. This is where the maintenance of gum health is so important in order to keep a healthy balance of bacteria in the mouth. Periodontal (gum) disease is caused by the build up of bad bacteria. Along with this is the body’s response to this bacteria, which results in inflammation. Essentially, inflammation works to destroy gum tissue, which is spurred on by pathogenic bacteria.
Gum Disease Effects on Physical Health
The effects of periodontal disease can range from mild to severe, as with any infection in the body. Periodontal disease can cause mild redness and swelling of the gums, also known as gingivitis (bad breath) or more severe destruction of the teeth and bone structure. The destruction of the tooth’s bony structure can lead to tooth loss and the spread of bacteria throughout the rest of the body.
Research has found that people suffering from periodontal disease are at higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Without treatment, periodontal disease works to slowly destroy the gum structure and supporting bones of your teeth.
How to Prevent Periodontal Disease
Here are just a few of the simplest ways to prevent the onset of gingivitis and periodontal disease. If you already suffer from gingivitis or have been diagnosed with periodontal disease, these tips should also help minimise your symptoms:
1. Brush and Floss Consistently
This is a given, but many people fail to floss as regularly as they should. Make sure to brush your teeth twice a day and floss just before bed. If you are fitted with bridges, tooth implants or mouth plates, consider using an interdental brush to remove trapped food particles from teeth.
2. Avoid Smoking
Smoking is one of the worst things you can do for the health of your teeth and gums. Tobacco works to inhibit the healing of soft tissue, causing dryness and the ideal environment for pathogenic bacteria to thrive. Smokers are at a higher risk of developing tooth decay, gum disease, and oral cancer. If you smoke, it’s time to consider quitting in order to drastically improve your oral health.
3. Maintain a Healthy Diet
This goes with saying- maintaining a healthy diet is not only good for your oral health but your overall physical well-being too. A healthy diet is one that is rich in vegetables, healthy oils and fats, fruits, legumes, nuts, fatty fish and plenty of water.
4. Don’t Skip Dental Check-Ups
In general, you should go for regular dental check-ups every 6 months to a year. During your check-up, your dentist will remove bacteria and plaque build-up in your mouth. They will also advise on the best course of action if you suffer from periodontal disease.
5. Learn the Signs of Periodontal Disease
Make sure that you are in-tune with the signs and symptoms of both gingivitis and periodontal disease. Look out for swollen, red and sensitive gums. If your gums bleed when brushing or eating, you must visit a dentist as soon as possible. The more dramatic signs of disease include pockets of pus, receding gums, widening spaces between teeth or ill-fitting bridges and dentures.
Book Your Dental Check-Up Today
At Canberra Dental Care we take gum health seriously. Our dentists and hygienists are all experts in spotting gum disease. As with all aspects of oral health, prevention is key.