Keeping your gums healthy is an important part of your dental, and overall health. Research has shown that certain conditions like high cholesterol and diabetes, along with taking certain medications, can affect the health of your gums. Alternatively, people with gum disease are more prone to developing cardiovascular health problems. You should aim to keep your gums healthy. If you’re not sure where to start, follow these tips from Young Family Dental.
What’s So Important About Our Gums Anyway?
Well, for one, according to a study by Harvard Health, gum disease may increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease and dementia. If that isn’t important enough, consider the discomfort unhealthy gums cause. Not to mention that gum disease can lead to tooth loss.
The American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) states that “approximately three out of four Americans suffer from some form of gum disease – from mild cases of gingivitis, to the more severe form known as periodontitis.” Only three percent get treatment for their gum disease.
What is the Difference Between Gingivitis and Gum Disease?
Gingivitis is the precursor to gum disease (also called periodontal disease.) Gingivitis is diagnosed by inflamed gums and tenderness. The bacteria and plaque build-up associated with gingivitis can make gums bleed when brushed or flossed. When gingivitis is diagnosed, teeth are still firmly in place and bone and tissue is still intact.
However, ignored gingivitis can lead to gum disease. Gum disease is present when the inner layer of the gum and bone have pulled away from the teeth and formed pockets, explains WebMD. Because there are now spaces/pockets for bacteria to gather, the tissues can become infected. Bacteria spreads and expands below the gum line evenutally leading to tissue and bone loss. Bone loss causes teeth to loosen and fall out.
In fact, gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults.
How Can You Prevent Gum Disease?
Know how to recognize healthy gums. Healthy gums should have a pink color and be firm. Unhealthy gums will be red, swollen and sometimes bleed.
The AAP recommends the following actions to help safeguard your smile from the dangers of gum disease:
- Brush Your Teeth: Remove food debris and prevent the build-up of tartar by regularly brushing your teeth.
- Floss: Make sure you floss at least once a day to get the food debris inbetween teeth and under the gum line; areas your toothbrush can’t reach.
- Use Mouthwash: Mouthwash helps reduce plaque by ridding your mouth of food particles left over after brushing.
- Avoid smoking or chewing tobacco.
- Stay Educated: Age, genetics, diet, and smoking all increase your risk of gum disease. Knowing you are at risk means you have extra steps you need to take to safeguard your health. Dr. Young can help advise you on a proper course of action to keep your mouth health where it needs to be.
- Have Regular Exams: One of the best things you can do is to make and keep regular dental appointments for cleanings and exams. During a periodontal evaluation, your dentist will check the health of your teeth, gums, bite, bone structure, your current plaque level and any new or on-going risk factors. When it comes to gum disease, getting ahead is key since most damage is irreverisble.
To learn more about keeping your gums healthy or to schedule a personal consultation with one of our dentists, call or visit any of our five Utah dental offices in West Jordan, Riverton, American Fork, Saratoga Springs or Orem. We’ll show you what dentures and partials can do for you.