Many people are surprised to learn that gum disease is just as much of a serious dental problem as decay is. In fact, more than 60% of American adults are estimated to already be suffering from some degree of gum disease and this number seems continue to rise over the coming decade. Although gum disease doesn’t tend to cause discomfort until it has progressed significantly, it can have serious consequences for your teeth and health. Affected gums can recede, pulling away from the teeth and putting them at risk of falling out. Severe gum disease, known as periodontitis, has also been shown to be associated with the development of major chronic health problems including high blood pressure, heart disease and even cancer. If you want to enjoy a great smile and excellent health for as long as possible, gum care should be an immediate priority.
September is gum care month, and as we are committed to helping our patients enjoy the best oral health possible, we want to share some tips with you on ways in which you can improve your gum health.
Most of us are taught the importance of brushing our teeth properly from a young age, and chances are that your parents or guardians spent a considerable amount of time instilling this habit in you growing up – however much you may have protested! Nevertheless, as we get older, some of us let our good oral hygiene habits slip a little. Busy lives and tiredness can get in the way, meaning that we don’t brush our teeth as often or as well as we should. This can have a detrimental effect on the health and condition of our gums. For optimal gum health you should:
Brush your teeth at least twice each day
Use a soft bristled toothbrush that won’t damage your teeth
Brush for at least 2 minutes each time
Use a fluoride toothpaste
Pay special attention to where your teeth meet the gums
This last point is especially important. This is because gum problems usually start where the teeth meet the gums as this is where plaque accumulates and can spread onto the gum tissue if it isn’t removed.
For many people, flossing is the part of their oral hygiene routine that they are most likely to skip. Unless you are very well practiced, it’s easy to find flossing tricky and time-consuming. Still, flossing is a crucial part of successful dental and gum health. This is because only flossing can remove the tiny particles of food and microscopic bacteria that can become lodged in the miniscule spaces between our teeth. If you can’t get used to traditional floss, consider using a water flosser or interdental brushes instead.
Aside from poor oral hygiene, smoking is probably the largest contributing factor to the development of gum disease. Smoking affects all areas of our health, including weakening our body’s ability to fight off infection. This makes it much harder to us to fight off an infection in the gums, which can occur if gum disease occurs. Once you already have damaged gums, smoking can inhibit the healing process too.
Proper dental care and great oral health starts at home, but this doesn’t mean that it can’t use a helping hand from time to time. Regular professional dental cleanings have been proven to be one of the best ways of combatting many dental issues, including those affecting the gums. A professional dental clean involves the use of specialist tools and equipment, which, combined with the unencumbered access to your mouth that your dentist or hygienist as, offers a truly superior clean. Regular professional dental cleanings have been proven to help maintain healthy gums for longer. Each appointment also gives your dentist the opportunity to assess the condition of your gums so that if any intervention is needed, it is promptly carried out before you suffer issues unnecessarily.
If you would like more advice on how to improve your gum health, don’t hesitate to call us at Clarity Dental Center at (253) 799-1490 to speak to our expert team.