Ways to Keep Your Gums Healthy
When we think about our smiles, we are often so focused on how our teeth look that we tend to forget about the critical role that our gums play. Our gums are the foundation of a healthy smile and are in fact linked to the overall health of the body. Conversely, gum disease has been found to be a contributing factor to several systemic diseases including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s, and even cancer.
Plaque is a sticky film that forms on our teeth as we eat and drink and if it is not removed, it hardens to form tartar. Bacteria found in plaque and tartar cause the gums to become inflamed, tender, and prone to bleeding, a condition known as Gingivitis. Gingivitis is reversible as the bone and supporting tissue that firmly holds your teeth is unaffected.
If Gingivitis is left to progress, a more advanced form of gum disease known as Periodontal Disease will occur. Periodontal Disease affects the underlying bone and supporting tissue and can cause teeth to become loose, persistent bad breath, and even poor systemic health.
Healthy gums for a healthy life
You need not despair, the good news is that Gingivitis (gum disease) is not only reversible, but it is also easily preventable. To keep you and your gums healthy, here are a few steps that you can take:
Good oral hygiene:
This is the main way to prevent gum disease. This means brushing your teeth for at least two minutes twice daily with fluoride toothpaste. It also means flossing twice daily to ensure that you remove plaque and food particles that the bristles of your toothbrush cannot reach. Additionally, the use of a therapeutic mouthwash can help to prevent gum disease by reducing plaque accumulation and reducing the speed of tartar formation.
Get your dental cleanings:
By visiting your dentist at least twice per year for an examination and professional cleaning, not only are you ensuring that you remove plaque and tartar (which can only be removed this way) but you are also ensuring that any early signs of gum disease are detected so that the necessary steps taken to prevent it from progressing.
Smoking is not only harmful to your lungs but it is also associated with the onset of gum disease as it weakens the body’s immune system. In fact, smokers are two times more likely than non-smokers to have gum disease. Smoking also reduces oxygen in the bloodstream thus significantly impairing healing of infected gums, increasing plaque accumulation, and causing gum disease to progress at a much faster rate than in non-smokers. As such, by quitting smoking, you will reduce your risk of developing gum disease.
Though gum disease can cause serious problems such as tooth loss and even contribute to the progression of systemic disease within the body, it is easily preventable and by following these steps you can ensure that your gums remain healthy.
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