When it comes to oral care, most people do not think about their gums. Your gums, however, are just as important as your teeth. Gums that become infected or diseased can be very painful and lead to tooth loss. Failure to care for your gums properly can also lead to bad breath. Your gums need you to provide just as much care to them as you give to your teeth.
Understanding What Can Happen When You Do Not Care For Your Gums
Gum disease can be a very serious and painful ailment. In its early stages, gum disease is known as gingivitis. Gingivitis is caused by plaque buildup getting under your gums. This may cause some discomfort, but the usual signs of this early stage gum disease are tenderness when brushing, dark red gums especially around the teeth, and bleeding when you brush. Gingivitis can usually be treated easily with a professional cleaning by your dentist. Once treated, you can prevent gingivitis from reoccurring with regular oral care and routine dental visits.
Advanced gum disease is known as periodontitis. This is a very severe form of gum disease and requires professional care to treat. When your gum disease has advanced this far, you will have discomfort in your mouth at the gum lines, your teeth will bleed when brushed, and you may begin to experience more teeth issues.
Periodontitis requires extensive cleaning by your dentist who will perform a cleaning called scaling. This will remove all of the plaque from the teeth and allow the gums to heal. They may also have to smooth the root of your teeth to help prevent build-up from occurring in the future. If this is not enough, you may be required to see a periodontist who has oral surgery to save your teeth and gums.
Gum disease can lead to tooth loss and other diseases. Some research has indicated that excessive tooth plaque can be connected to a higher risk of heart conditions and stroke. Other studies show that women who suffer from gum disease while pregnant run a much higher risk of having a premature birth than those who are gum disease-free. Make sure you visit the dentist when pregnant to avoid the risks of gum disease.
Nutrition And Genetics
If you are experiencing bleeding gums and your dentist has ruled out gingivitis, you may be suffering from a lack of Vitamin C. Vitamin C is essential to gum and tooth health. A vitamin supplement may be in your best interest. Speak with your dentist about adding this vitamin to your daily health routine.
Genetics may also play a part in gum disease. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 30 percent of the population has a predisposition for plaque buildup and gingivitis than the rest of the population. For people who are in this category, it is very important that you take extra care of your gums by regularly brushing, flossing and having dental exams.
Caring For Your Gums
Caring for your gums is quite simple. Brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing will be your best defense against gum disease. Running your brush lightly over your gums will also provide you additional protection. However, remember to only go lightly over your gums because pressing too hard can cause discomfort.
Using a mouthwash will also be beneficial to your gums and overall oral health. The mouthwash can reach areas where brushing cannot reach, such as your inner cheeks. This additional protection will help reduce the bacteria that cause plaque and leads to gingivitis. As a final benefit to your gums, avoid using smokeless tobacco products. Placing this tobacco between your cheek and gums can lead to gum disease and mouth cancers.