Left untreated, gum disease or periodontal disease is a severe problem that can lead to tooth loss and consequences that affect total-body health. Taking care of your gums and teeth is essential, especially if you have the signs and symptoms of periodontal disease.
Maintaining good oral health is essential for overall well-being, and healthy gums are vital for healthy teeth and general oral hygiene. Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is a prevalent condition affecting millions worldwide. This article will discuss the importance of gum health, the causes of gum disease, and how to prevent it!
Why is Gum Health Important?
Gum health is crucial for maintaining healthy teeth and overall oral hygiene. Gums act as a barrier between the teeth and the surrounding tissue, holding the teeth firmly in place. Healthy gums also play a crucial role in keeping teeth clean. They provide a seal around the teeth, preventing food particles from getting stuck between the teeth and causing plaque buildup.
When gums are unhealthy, they become inflamed and swollen. This inflammation can cause damage to the tissue surrounding the teeth and lead to the breakdown of the bone that holds the teeth in place. As a result, the teeth may become loose, and in severe cases, they may fall out. Gum disease is also associated with a higher risk for developing other health problems including heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.
What Causes Gum Disease?
Gum disease is caused by the buildup of plaque on the teeth. Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that forms on the teeth and gums. When plaque is not removed through brushing and flossing, it can harden into tartar, which a dental professional can only remove. Tartar buildup can lead to inflammation and infection of the gums, which can cause gum disease.
Other factors contributing to gum disease include smoking, hormonal changes, diabetes, certain medications, and a family history of gum disease. Poor oral hygiene habits and a diet high in sugar and carbohydrates can also increase the risk of gum disease.
How Can I Prevent Gum Disease?
The good news is that gum disease is preventable with proper oral hygiene habits. Some of the best ways to prevent gum disease include:
- Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. Brush for at least two minutes each time, brushing all surfaces of your teeth.
- Floss at least once daily to remove plaque and food particles between your teeth.
- Use an antiseptic mouthwash to kill bacteria and freshen your breath.
- Visit your dentist regularly for cleanings and checkups. Your dentist can detect and treat gum disease in its early stages.
- Quit smoking or using tobacco products. Smoking is a significant risk factor for gum disease.
- Consume a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Avoid sugary and starchy foods that can contribute to plaque buildup.
To best prevent gum disease, proper oral hygiene is critical. Some of the best ways to maximize your oral hygiene routine at home include the following:
After you brush your teeth, it's important to rinse with water to remove any leftover toothpaste that could irritate if left on the surface of the gums. It would help if you also were sure not to use too much pressure when brushing; this can damage gum tissue over time and lead to bleeding or soreness in the mouth area (known as "gingivitis").
Flossing helps remove food particles from between teeth that may have been missed during cleaning with a toothbrush alone--and these particles are especially harmful if they remain lodged there for long periods because they provide an ideal breeding ground for bacteria growth! It's best to floss once daily after brushing; however, some people succeed by doing both at once (using an interdental brush).
Visit Your Dentist for Advanced Periodontal Care
Your gum health is crucial for maintaining healthy teeth and total-body health. Gum disease, left untreated, can lead to tooth loss and additional health concerns across the body. Fortunately, gum disease is preventable with proper oral hygiene and support from your dentist, including maintaining your regularly scheduled dental checkups. Prioritize your gum health for a lifetime of healthy smiles!