Why Healthy Gums Matter
It’s no secret that healthy gums are essential for healthy teeth. You may be surprised to learn, however, that gum health also influences your overall health. Gum disease can rob you of your ability to enjoy your food and make it difficult to receive adequate nutrition. Tooth loss from gum disease can ruin your smile, too—and gum infection can even cause serious systemic illness.
Ignoring Gum Health: What Could Go Wrong?
Pay attention to your gum health for signs of gum disease. Mild gum disease, called gingivitis, is reversible. You’ll need to get regular dental exams and cleanings and be diligent about brushing and flossing. More serious periodontitis (periodontal disease) requires prompt, expert periodontal treatment to avoid tooth loss. The sooner you receive treatments, the better the outcome.
Some symptoms and consequences of poor gum health include:
- Pain from receding gums and tooth root exposure
- Sore, swollen gums
- Bleeding gums
- Deep pockets around some teeth, caused by inflamed gums, where bacteria and plaque build-up (and toothbrushes have trouble reaching)
- Tooth decay and/or loose teeth
- Difficulty chewing and pain while eating.
- Greater vulnerability to tooth decay and cavities
- Tooth abscess or infection of the tooth root
- Bone loss beneath the gums
- Tooth loss
If gum infection spreads into your bloodstream, your vital organs may be damaged. This can lead to a serious heart ailment, called endocarditis and other organ damage.
How to Maintain Healthy Gums
You may be susceptible to gum disease due to genetics, chronic illness, smoking, or poor dental hygiene. Get into these healthy gum habits to avoid gum disease:
- Brush your teeth twice daily with fluoride toothpaste
- Floss daily
- Use mouthwash, swishing between teeth thoroughly for at least 30 seconds
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet with lots of vitamin C
- Limit sweets
- Drink lots of water
- Tell your doctor and/or dentist if you have dry mouth. Saliva is necessary to keep gums and teeth healthy, so correcting causes of dry mouth are important. Dry mouth can occur as a medication side effect, due to mouth breathing or other health issues.
- Do not grind your teeth—if you think you may be grinding your teeth at night talking with your dentist about receiving a night guard.
- Do not smoke
- Visit your dentist regularly and get dental cleanings twice per year. If you have chronic illness like diabetes or gum disease, your dentist may recommend you come in more often.
How We Fight Gum Disease: Periodontal Treatment Details
If you have gingivitis (early gum disease) we may recommend more thorough brushing and flossing at home to reverse the problem. If you’ve already developed serious gum disease, our dentists and periodontists can help limit the damage with special periodontal treatments including scaling and root planing. These treatments provide a deep cleaning of your teeth below the gum line to help remove bacteria and calculus. In addition, rough root surfaces are smoothed so that plaque won’t become so easily attached and gums can once again “hug” the roots more firmly.
Get Expert Help for Healthy Gums in Colorado Springs
If you have tooth pain, sore gums or persistent bad breath—or if you’re overdue for your semi-annual dental cleaning—make an appointment with the friendly dentists at HollowBrook Dental.