Though you likely brush your teeth daily in order to keep your teeth clean and healthy, there’s actually another big reason to take care of your mouth health: the health of your gums! Your gums are there to keep your teeth strong and in place and if they ever become unhealthy, your whole body can be affected.
Gum health is an important part of overall mouth health, so it’s a good idea to understand the difference between healthy and unhealthy gums, and what you can do to keep them on the healthy side of the fence.
What is gum disease?
Are you concerned about your gum health or that of a family member? Is it time for a checkup? If you’re new to Oakville and looking for a new dentist, we’d love to welcome your family to Reflections Dental Oakville!
The early indicators of gum disease include redness, swelling and bleeding, especially when brushing your teeth. In untreated cases, gum disease can even lead to tooth loss. It’s important to make an appointment with your dentist if you notice any of these issues so that they can help you treat the issue before it gets too severe.
As your teeth build up plaque and tartar, if not properly cleaned with your toothbrush and floss, this buildup can cause harmful bacteria to become trapped in all the crevices of your mouth. These bacteria will ultimately aggravate and harm your gums, causing them to become inflamed.
If caught early enough you can usually reverse the effects with a great brushing and flossing routine but if left too long, your gums may start to swell and pull away from your teeth which can be quite painful.
Gum health affects more than just your mouth
While you are most likely to notice the effects of great (or poor) gum health in your mouth, it has actually been linked to other areas of your body health, too. Gum disease has also been shown to play a role in cardiovascular and respiratory health.
The bacteria that build on your teeth and in your mouth when your gums are not cleaned properly can easily lead to pneumonia and other infections in your respiratory system if the bacteria invade the wrong space while you breathe.
When your teeth reach the level of plaque build up that will lead to periodontal disease (an advanced form of gum disease), your arteries are also likely to show effects of plaque build up. Though the plaque takes on a different form when in your arteries, it can have the same damaging effects. Plaque in your arteries can lead to obstructions and even possible heart attacks.
How to maintain great gum health
Maintaining healthy gums is an easy process, especially if you already have a good mouth health routine.
Brush twice a day, and after any concerning meals – Brushing morning and night and after any meals containing food or drink that are sticky or highly acidic will help keep your gums happy throughout the day.
Floss daily – Using floss will help you clean out the deeper crevices between your teeth and gums that your toothbrush can’t reach by itself.
Use mouthwash – Rinsing with mouthwash after brushing and flossing, as well as any time you can’t brush your teeth after an unhealthy meal, will help rinse any damaging bacteria out of your mouth and from and hard to reach spaces between your teeth.
Eat a healthy diet – Things like soft drinks, gummy candies, acidic fruit and alcohol can aggravate your gums, especially if you can’t clean them soon after.
Don’t smoke – Smoking introduces bacteria to your mouth that can make you more likely to end up with gum disease than a non smoker.
Use a mouthguard – Grinding your teeth at night can put stress on your teeth and lead to receding gums.
Mouth health isn’t just about your teeth
Growing up you were likely taught to brush your teeth and stay away from cavity-causing food and drinks to help protect your teeth from disease and decay. But the health of your gums was probably left out of the conversation! You gums play a significant role in your overall health, so it’s important to keep them happy and healthy, too.