While taking care of our teeth is of utmost importance, it’s also important to recognize the role that the gums play in maintaining a brilliant smile. The gums serve as a barrier of soft tissue in which the roots of the teeth are embedded. The gums are also closely fused to underlying bone in order to prevent friction from irritating the mouth while chewing food. Typically, healthy gums are indicated by a pinkish tone. When gums are red, swollen, puffy, or painful, this may be a sign of gingivitis or more severe periodontal disease.
In most cases, gum disease progresses through a series of stages. During the earlier stages, a patient has a better chance of recovering from the diseased gums. A patient may express concerns about gum erosion or general discomfort along the gum line. These earlier symptoms are often diagnosed as gingivitis. Dentists can offer patients strategies early on to care for inflamed gums and instruct the patient to continue to monitor symptoms both at home and through routine dental visits over time.
If gum disease is not addressed in its early stages, it runs the risk of developing into periodontal disease. In addition to affecting your mouth, gums, and underlying bone periodontal disease can have systemic implications that affect your overall health. When trying to combat gum disease, your dentist can offer you several techniques for improving gum health; however, it is up to you as the patient to be proactive and establish routines that foster responsible gum care.
What are the symptoms of gum disease?
When gum disease first presents itself, patients will typically notice red and swollen gums. These inflamed gums may be sore or achy, and they can easily bleed as a result of brushing or flossing. In addition to tender gums, patients may demonstrate eroded gums that have started to separate from the base of the teeth, making the teeth seem longer in appearance. In effect, swelling and gum erosion cause deep pockets to form between the gum line and the teeth. As a result, dental plaque and food particles can collect into these pockets and cause further problems.
Over time, the debris within the pockets can calcify, causing bad breath and an unpleasant taste in the mouth in addition to the formation of cysts, nodules, and serious infection when left untreated. Once the suspicion of gum disease has surfaced, it is important to schedule an appointment with your dentist in order to create and implement an effective treatment plan that will heal your gums and prevent further damage.
What can I do to prevent gum disease?
In order to prevent gum disease from advancing, it’s important to establish and maintain a healthy oral-care routine, taking note of the following suggestions.
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day for a full two minutes. Carefully brush over the gum line with your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle. This will help release plaque and tartar buildup. Also, take the time to brush over your tongue since the tongue can become coated with bacteria that can lead to infection.
- In addition to brushing, make sure that you floss between your teeth on a daily basis. Do not reserve flossing only for when food particles get stuck in your teeth. Plaque and debris build up on a daily basis, and the bristles of a toothbrush alone cannot properly reach every spot between your teeth.
- After brushing and flossing, be sure to rinse your mouth and gums with a medicated rinse or mouthwash. Vigorously swishing with mouthwash will help remove any additional particles that were left behind, clear any remaining bacteria, and encourage fresher breath.
- Understand that additional factors can be responsible for gum disease, some of which are under your control. The age of the patient, drug and alcohol use, diet, and genetic factors can all increase the risk of developing gum disease.
- If you already know that you have an increased chance of developing gum disease because of your family or medical history, speak with your dentist or visit a periodontist. Together, you will develop a plan for keeping your gums healthy and decreasing your risk of developing gum disease.
If you feel that you have noticed a change in your gum health or any of the signs or symptoms mentioned above, make sure to contact us at Implantation Dental Center in Plantation, Florida. In addition to prosthodontics, we provide superior periodontal services that can reverse the effects of gum disease by promoting both bone and soft tissue regeneration. Give us a call today at 954-476-0770. We are happy to help you with any of your oral care concerns. We strive to give our patients the smile that they deserve!