Keeping your gum health in tip-top shape is one of the most important steps to ensure that your mouth stays healthy for years to come.
There are a number of steps that you can take to keep your mouth healthy, and brushing your teeth is only one of those ways. We’re here to help you keep your gums healthier.
What Do Healthy Gums Look Like?
Before we can go too far into how to keep your gums healthy, it’s probably important that we define what healthy gums are. More often than not, patients visit the dentist, not even knowing that they’re struggling with gum disease. Patients often make a dental appointment for more visible dental-related issues or regular cleaning. When they get to their appointment, the dentist can quickly find gum disease.
Gum disease can be responsible for tooth pain and early tooth decay. If it’s not treated and taken care of, it can lead to serious health issues and even cause decay in facial bones such as the jaw.
Gingivitis vs. Periodontal (gum) Disease
There are two general types of gum diseases: gingivitis and periodontal (gum). The first, gingivitis, is the milder of the two, and it’s often characterized by swollen or inflamed gum tissue. You might have mild forms of gingivitis if your gums bleed when you’re brushing them. Gingivitis can be more easily and quickly healed by changing some of your everyday habits—more on this to follow.
Periodontal disease is a bit more intense and should be taken more seriously. Periodontal disease is gum damage that can lead to tooth loss and serious health issues in the body if not treated and taken care of efficiently. Signs of periodontal disease include gum pockets, gum recession, and tooth or bone decay. In severe cases, the damage can be seen better with the help of x-rays.
What Causes Gum Disease?
Gum disease occurs when there’s inflammation of gum tissue due to many factors, including plaque, decay, or injury. Plaque builds up on teeth from everyday things like eating food and drinking acidic or sugary beverages. Decay occurs when the plaque on teeth turns into acid and eats away at your tooth enamel, causing cavities. Plaque builds up naturally, but when it isn’t removed regularly, it can become more of a problem.
Injury to gum tissue can also occur if you’re grinding or clenching your teeth, biting down too hard with braces, or have a mouth injury that leads to gum inflammation. This inflammation, if left unchecked, can lead to more serious issues and turn from a simple case of gingivitis into more severe periodontal disease.
What Happens If You Have Gum Disease?
When gum disease is left untreated, it can result in tooth loss and other serious health issues, including heart and lung problems. Your mouth is the gateway to your body in many ways. Bacteria builds up through gum disease, and can spread into different parts of your body. After entering your airways bacteria can make its way to your bloodstream.
This is just one of the reasons why maintaining a healthy mouth is so important and something that shouldn’t be neglected at all.
Gum Disease Symptoms
The many symptoms that you might experience with gum disease include bleeding when brushing your teeth, redness in the gum tissues, tooth pain that doesn’t go away after a few days, gum recession that is leading to bone loss, and loosening of teeth.
It’s obvious that some of these symptoms are more severe and extreme than others. But that’s why it’s important to recognize and treat gum disease before it worsens and leads to long-term damage in your mouth.
How to Heal Your Gums
Reversing and promoting healthy gums is an important part of ensuring that your mouth stays healthy and that you’re able to keep living unaffected. But, when your gums do start to develop gingivitis or mild periodontal disease, here are a few ways that you can start treating it.
Reversing Gum Disease
After you’ve noticed your gum disease, you’ll have to start taking steps to get rid of it. You can start by making some changes to your lifestyle and through the use of gum disease treatment. Your local dental provider can be a huge help in getting your gum disease treatment. One change you can make is cutting out sugary foods and starting to brush your teeth on a regular basis.
Promote Healthy Gums
After you’ve started to reverse and heal your gum disease, you’ll need to start promoting healthy gums by taking care of them. This means brushing your teeth at least twice a day using toothpaste that contains fluoride. Fluoride helps to rebuild your tooth enamel and ensures that you have natural protection against tooth decay. You’ll also want to floss regularly and use mouthwash. Some mouthwash solutions will help fight gum disease, but any mouthwash will be an advantage in your fight for healthy gums.
Foods that Promote Gum Health
You should also be eating a diet that is high in vitamin C and calcium. Foods like oranges and spinach are good natural ways to get vitamins and minerals into your body to help your teeth replenish their natural enamel and strength. Vitamin C can also help your body fight off any bad bacteria that starts to form in your mouth.
Natural Ways to Maintain Gum Health
In addition to taking gum disease treatments and following up with a healthy diet, there are some other things that you can do on your own at home to help maintain gum health. Here are a few of those simple ways that you can take action towards a healthier mouth.
Common Ways to Keep Gums Healthy
- Floss regularly
- Regular dental cleanings
- Brushing twice a day
- Fluoride toothpaste
- Preventative or restoring mouthwash
- Drink lots of water
There are more ways, such as a healthy nutrient-dense diet, as we mentioned above. But, these are some of the best daily habits that will help keep your teeth clean and your mouth free of gum disease.
Common Reasons Why Gums Become Unhealthy
Now, if you’ve been wondering what causes gum disease, there are a few different answers. We’ll do our best to break them down.
Smoking is bad for many health reasons and should be avoided, but gum disease is one of the many reasons to stop smoking. Smoking can lead to gum recession and damage your gum tissue, which can eventually cause tooth loss and severe gum disease.
The gum around your teeth is the first line of defense against harmful bacteria and toxins. If you’re regularly using tobacco products, it can increase the likelihood that gum disease will develop in your mouth by up to 50%.
When your mouth doesn’t have enough saliva, gum disease becomes more likely, thus damaging overall gum health. This is because of the lack of moisture, allowing bacteria to grow and gum disease to worsen. One of the most common reasons people suffer from dry mouth is not drinking enough water or sleeping/breathing with their mouth open.
Junk Foods that are High in Sugar
Sugar is bad for your gum health. Your teeth are made of calcium, and when sugar reaches those tooth enamel layers, it can cause the mineral to break down. Over time high amounts of sugar in your diet will cause significant problems for your gum health.
Poor Oral Hygiene
This one may not be much of a surprise, but poor oral hygiene habits are the leading causes of gum disease. When you don’t brush your teeth regularly, or you don’t floss, gum disease can worsen—performing proper oral hygiene daily does more than just keep your teeth white.
Getting the Dental Help You Need
If gum disease has already started to form, it’s important that you take care of the problem as soon as possible. This is where a dentist comes in and can help start providing treatment for you. In many cases, a one-time treatment is all you’ll need to start healing your gums.
At Wayzata Dental, we use industry-leading technology to treat our patients. Laser dentistry is a safe and effective way to help our patients. So, whether you’re coming in for a cleaning or a gum treatment, our team of skilled professionals are able to offer you a virtually pain-free visit. Learn more about our services or schedule an appointment on our website.