You care for your teeth because you want a healthy, bright white smile. But did you realize that your gums play a vital role in the health and beauty of your smile? In fact, without them, your teeth/smile could be in a lot of trouble.
Without proper gum care, several conditions could cause problems affecting the look and feel, and function of your entire mouth.
Why Do Gums Matter?
Even if you’ve heard of gum disease, do you know what it is? Because if you have it, you might not even know. Early-stage gum disease isn’t obvious and doesn’t cause pain. Did you know that 90% of adults in the UK have had or have some sort of gum disease? It’s also a leading cause of tooth loss in adults! Now that’s a scary thought.
Causes of Gum Disease
In your mouth, bacteria are constantly forming a sticky substance called plaque on your teeth. Brushing and flossing can help you get rid of plaque, but the substance can also harden and, in turn, form another substance called tartar.
Gum disease starts with bacterial plaque build-up. The plaque can harden into dental tartar, and you might experience swollen gum tissue. As plaque is what we aim to remove when we brush our teeth. It’s important to make sure that you are brushing all areas of your mouth and floss in between your teeth to remove any unwanted build-up. In mild cases, you can reverse early-stage gum disease (known as gingivitis)
However, you’ll need professional treatment if gingivitis develops into periodontitis, the next gum disease stage. Periodontitis can result in the development of periodontal pockets and bone loss, which could lead to tooth loss. That’s why gums matter.
So, while it’s important to follow the tips we can give you should talk to your dental professionals if you experience any of the following:
Bleeding gums / Red or swollen gums / Bad breath that won’t go away / Loose teeth / Receding gums (gums that pull away from your teeth)
How to Improve your Gum Health.
You can prevent gum disease or reverse gingivitis with simple steps that take just a few minutes. And, yes, these steps are also the best way to keep your teeth decay-free, reducing the chance of any unwanted complications further down the line.
Here are some things to keep in mind when you brush your teeth:
- Clean between your teeth. Floss or use an interdental product to remove plaque both from between your teeth and under your gums between your teeth – this is important as forgotten or missed plaque can harden into tartar and start to create issues.
- Brush with a plaque-removing fluoride toothpaste. If you use a battery-operated or electric toothbrush, follow the package directions for brushing your teeth, gums, and tongue.
- Rinse with an antibacterial mouthwash designed to prevent plaque.
While making sure you clean your teeth effectively is very important to fighting gum disease you can also make conscious lifestyle choices that will further strengthen your gums and teeth:
- Limit sugary, sticky, or starchy foods. Bacteria love to gobble up the sugars in these foods to produces the acids leading to tooth decay. Having a healthy lifestyle, including eating well, not smoking, and limiting your alcohol and sugar intake. It’s good for your whole body, including your teeth, gums, and mouth.
- Avoid cigarettes and tobacco products. Smoking weakens your immune system, making it harder to defend your body against diseases, including gum disease.
To ensure your gum-healthy routine is working, visit your dentist and hygienist regularly for check-ups. These visits are also essential for regular professional cleanings that remove every bit of plaque and tartar that slipped by you. Your dentist and hygienist will be able to tell you early on if you have a form of gum disease, helping you to identify and solve the problem sooner before it can develop into a more worrying issue.