Your smile doesn’t consist of just your teeth. In fact, your gums play a vital role in how your mouth looks and feels. While your pearly whites may shine bright, your soft oral tissues may become inflamed as a result of bad bacteria. To minimize your risk of developing periodontal disease, you must understand how to maintain optimal gum health in Phillipsburg. Read on to learn more about these oral tissues and what you can do to keep them in good shape for the rest of your life.
Gum Tissue: What Is Its Purpose?
Your gums, otherwise known as gingiva, surround your teeth and help to hold them in place. They fit snugly to allow for food particles and other debris to move throughout the mouth without interfering with the structure beneath the gum line. They’re also designed to protect your tooth roots from decay.
How They Can Become Infected
When bad bacteria forms inside your mouth, it results in what is known as gum disease. As a result of poor oral hygiene, harmful particles begin to attack the soft oral tissues, causing them to become red, inflamed, and even bleed when brushing or flossing. This early stage, gingivitis, can be reversed if you have professional cleanings regularly and practice good oral habits at home.
However, if left untreated, gingivitis can quickly turn into periodontitis. As plaque builds over time, it can create gum pockets that easily trap food and other bacteria. Eventually, your gums will begin to recede, exposing more of your tooth structure. As the disease progresses, the bone will weaken, and teeth will become loose.
How Your Gums Can Negatively Impact Your Overall Health
As periodontitis becomes more prominent, inflammation and infection can enter your bloodstream and travel to various parts of your body. It is believed that gum disease is closely linked to an array of health-related diseases and conditions, such as:
- Heart disease and stroke
- Respiratory disease (i.e., pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease COPD)
- Neurological disease (i.e., dementia, Alzheimer’s)
Gum disease is also closely tied to poor gut health. The reason is that patients find it nearly impossible to eat nutritious foods like fruits and vegetables because of the difficulty in biting and chewing due to loose teeth and complete tooth loss.
Ways to Keep Your Gums Healthy
To minimize the potential for gum disease, it is recommended that you follow these simple tips:
- Maintain optimal oral hygiene by brushing twice a day for two minutes, using fluoride toothpaste, flossing at least once a day, and rinsing with an ADA-approved mouthwash.
- Continue to see your dentist in Phillipsburg every six months for regular dental checkups and cleanings.
- Avoid smoking or using tobacco products.
- Limit your consumption of sugary and starchy foods.
- Replace your toothbrush every 3 months, as the bristles can become frayed and damage your gums.
- Eat a healthy, nutrient-rich diet.
- Seek professional help if you notice early signs of gum disease.
With healthy teeth and gums, you can expect to enjoy a longer-lasting, more beautiful, and radiant smile. Keeping these tips in mind will help to prevent gum disease and allow you to live life to its fullest.
About the Author
Dr. Jeffrey DeMartino is a dentist in Phillipsburg who graduated from Fairleigh S. Dickinson School of Dental Medicine with his DMD in 1988. Joining his father and future wife in practice at DeMartino Dental Group, he and Dr. Nélida Garcia-DeMartino strive to help patients of all ages maintain healthier teeth and gums. If you are struggling with inflammation and bleeding when brushing or flossing, visit our website or call (908) 859-5260.
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