Good oral health is more than about having a perfect set of straight teeth. Your gums matter too, as those pink tissues protect your teeth and the bone beneath it, offering a barrier against infection. Neglecting the gums can result in a condition called gum disease, which is the most common cause of tooth loss in adults.
Dental clinics in Townsville note that gum disease starts with plaque (a sticky film of bacteria) build-up along and below the gum line. If not removed, it can irritate the gums and contribute to gingivitis, which is the first stage of gum disease. Common symptoms include mild swelling and redness of the gums, as well as gums that easily bleed when brushing or flossing the teeth.
Is it treatable?
Gingivitis or the earliest stage is usually reversible with good oral hygiene. Brushing and flossing daily, along with regular dental visits, are usually enough to treat gingivitis and keep it from progressing. Neglect, however, can cause it to develop into gum disease and then turn into periodontitis, the advanced stage. This can destroy the bone the supports the teeth, leading to tooth loss.
Is there a way to prevent or avoid gingivitis?
It all starts with brushing at least twice a day for two minutes each time. Be sure to do it right and avoid using too much pressure. There is no need to scrub hard or aggressively, as doing so can only hurt your gums and make them bleed. Here are a few other things can help prevent gum disease:
- Floss daily. Make sure to floss at least once a day, preferably before bedtime. It does not matter whether you do it before or after brushing; what matters most is that you do it. Flossing helps remove plaque and debris in places that the toothbrush can’t reach.
- Don’t smoke or quit smoking. Smoking is related to the formation of more plaque, which therefore contributes to gum disease. It is also important to know that the habit compromises your immune system, making it difficult for your body to fight infections, which include inflammation of the gums in the form of periodontal disease.
- Eat a balanced diet. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods gives your body essential vitamins and nutrients, which can be beneficial and suppressing inflammation. Be sure to avoid starchy and sugary foods, as they can only increase your plaque. The same is also true for soda, which has sugar and acid that can attack the gums and teeth.
- Have your teeth checked and cleaned. Make sure to visit your dentist at least every six months or as often as recommended. Your dentist can identify early signs of gum disease and fix them before they progress, as well as remove tartar or calcified plaque. Be sure to visit the dentist sooner if you notice signs like bleeding, swollen, and red gums.
- Fix dental problems. Crowded or crooked teeth can only make it hard for your brush and floss your teeth properly. This can lead to more plaque build-up, increasing your risk of gum disease. Talk to your dentist to have your teeth straightened, as well as to correct other dental problems that can compromise your oral health.
Don’t just mind your teeth; care for your gums too. Follow the tips mentioned above for better and improved oral and overall health.