When people think of oral health, most automatically think of the teeth. But a beautiful smile not only depends on clean teeth, but also on healthy gums.
What are Gums and Gum Lines?
The gums are connective tissues that surround the necks of teeth. The gum line is the line along which the tooth meets the gums. A receding gum line is a common occurrence and is often a sign of a gum disease.
Gums are important to the overall health of your mouth because these form a protective seal around the teeth so that the sensitive tissues underneath remain covered. When gums are not cared for properly, it can lead anywhere from a simple swelling to complete tooth loss.
What Harms Them
When bacteria in the mouth are left to multiply and infect the mouth tissues, these can cause inflammation and infection, and eventually lead to periodontal disease.
The beginning stages of periodontal disease, gingivitis, show up as bleeding, inflamed, or red gums. This is usually painless, so most who experience this are unaware of how grave the condition can be. At this stage, the gums are still easy to heal and can return to good health.
When left untreated, the disease can take on a more serious form called periodontitis. Symptoms of this include receding gums, bad breath, bad taste, bleeding, pain when chewing, and loose or sensitive teeth. At its worst, it can result in tooth and bone loss.
Caring for the Gums
So how do we care for our gum line and prevent disease from taking over?
1. Brush at least twice a day using a fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride strengthens your teeth and protects it from cavities. By protecting from a cavity, a fluoride treatment can help prevent gum disease.
2. Brush your teeth and gums at a 45-degree angle. Just brushing up and down won’t do the trick. The angle is important because it helps the bristles sweep under the gum line where plaque can hide.
3. Floss daily. Flossing is a habit that the American Dental Association recommends as part of a good oral care routine. The process removes remaining plaque and food from the gums and in between teeth that brushing can’t.
4. Use a mouthwash. Specifically, it is recommended to use a therapeutic mouthwash instead of a mouthwash that’s purely cosmetic. Therapeutic mouthwashes include active ingredients that control gingivitis, bad breath, tooth decay, and plaque.
5. Reduce or completely stop smoking. Smoking weakens the body’s immune system and makes it harder for the body to fight off infection. It also makes healing from gum disease harder.
6. Never skip your oral care routine. According to dental professionals, a majority of dental diseases can be prevented by brushing and flossing regularly. Brushing should take at least 2 minutes long.
7. Visit your dentist at least twice a year. Dentists recommend going for cleaning and checkups every six months, although those that need more dental care are advised to go more frequently.
Prevent gum disease by practicing a complete and regular oral care routine.
A complete oral care routine includes regular visits to the dentist. Book an appointment with us now by calling 541-708-6288 and we’ll ensure that your gums and teeth are as healthy as they can be!