We all know that good oral health means good overall wellbeing. The health of your teeth does play a major role in the health of the rest of your body. Oral hygiene and good nutrition are important actions you can take to maintain a healthy mouth. Keeping your gums healthy is part of the equation. This article will discuss how to achieve healthy gums.
Why Are Gums Important?
Most people don’t even think about their gums. They do their best to take care of their teeth, but rarely pay attention to the structure that helps support them. The gums are made of tissue that covers the bone of your teeth. It forms a seal around the tooth so that bacteria cannot enter. Compromised gums cannot protect teeth and the bone structure that supports them. The health of your gums is a direct indication of your body’s overall condition.
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is also known as periodontal disease. It is frequently ignored and asymptomatic. Often, it goes undetected because it does not cause noticeable pain or symptoms. The disease is characterized by infection and inflammation of the gums. Plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that can build up and hardens on your teeth, is the main problem. The excess plaque is due to inadequate hygiene – lack of good brushing and flossing.
In the early stages, inflammation of the gum is called gingivitis. A more advanced condition is named periodontitis. As the disease progresses, you’ll experience sore gums, bleeding, painful chewing, sensitivity, or you can even lose teeth.
Causes of Gum Disease
The biggest cause of periodontal disease is the build-up of plaque. Plaque is made up of bacteria, mucus, and other particles that form a clear film over the teeth. It can easily be brushed away with regular cleaning. However, when it builds up it starts to harden and it becomes tartar. Also called calculus, tartar bonds firmly to the teeth and can only be cleaned by a dental professional.
There are several risk factors associated with gum disease, these include:
- Medication that reduces saliva flow.
- Female hormonal changes.
- Genetic predisposition.
- Diseases of the immune system such as AIDS
Symptoms of Gum Disease
In the early stages, gum disease often goes undetected. As the condition worsens, patients may present with the following symptoms:
- Sensitive teeth.
- Receding gums that make teeth appear longer.
- Bleeding or tender gums.
- Pain when chewing or drinking.
- Swollen or red gums.
- Foul breath that does not improve.
- Loose teeth or tooth loss.
How is Gum Disease Diagnosed?
It is important for you to have regular visits to the dentist. It is there where gum disease may be detected and diagnosed. The following are common procedures performed at the dental office to check the health of your gums.
- The dental professional will look for signs of inflammation or bleeding.
- A probe is used to measure tiny pockets around the teeth. The probe is a small ruler used to take these measurements. This assessment is painless and it determines the size in the depth of these pockets. A healthy measurement is one to three millimeters.
- You’ll be interviewed about your health and lifestyle. Conditions such as diabetes or habits such as smoking increase the chances of suffering from gum disease.
- X-rays may be taken to determine if the bone has been affected. Bone loss is a serious problem that if left untreated can cause major problems.
- Once diagnosed, the dentist refers you out to a periodontist, who are medical experts that specialize in gum disease. They offer treatments not available at your dentist’s office.
Following professional advice is crucial if you want to see improvement. It is advised to detect problems as early as possible so that the disease doesn’t progress and cause major health issues.
Treatment Options for Gum Disease
Treatment revolves around controlling the infection and inflammation. Each patient is unique and will follow an individualized treatment plan. Therefore, it is hard to know exactly how long the healing process will last for a particular individual.
Your dental professional may advise you to do the following:
- Quit smoking.
- Brushing and flossing regularly. The goal here is to keep plaque under control.
- Regularly doing professional cleaning in a dental office.
- Adopt nutritional habits that promote a healthy immune system.
One effective treatment is Laser Periodontal Therapy to help manage and reverse gum disease.
Prevention is the Best Medicine
Eliminating the problem before it starts is the best way to avoid gum disease. After all, you have the rest of your life to maintain a healthy mouth. Good oral habits can become automatic and you won’t have to think much about your oral health if you are disciplined.
Regular visits to the dentist and consistent oral hygiene will keep you in the clear. Making changes to your lifestyle will also help you achieve good oral health. Smoking and eating junk food are some of the worst enemies for gums.
Choosing a Great Dentist is Key for Oral Health
The relationship with your dentist is a key factor for healthy gums. Choose someone who is a good fit for you. Consider the services they offer and their philosophy about health. Ask for referrals and customer reviews to ensure you feel comfortable with your selection.
Award-winning Periodontist John Paul Gallardo DDS founded our Miami practice. With 25 years of experience, Dr. Gallardo has been highly trained in the field of periodontics. He provides state-of-art equipment with a team of professionals that practice the highest standards of care.
You’ll have peace of mind knowing that when you choose Dr. Gallardo you choose a trusted oral health specialist that is committed to your overall well-being. Gum disease does not have to be part of your life, and we can help you achieve the results you’re looking for.