While you might not think much about your gums, they’re an important part of your mouth. They protect your tooth roots from decay-causing bacteria and also help support your teeth in place.
Even if you’re cavity-free, plaque can still affect your oral health by building up against your gumline. When too much plaque builds up, it can cause an infection.
Periodontal disease, more commonly called gum disease, is a serious infection that can destroy your gum tissue and affect your jawbone. Untreated gum disease can cause bad breath, bleeding and tender gums, loose teeth, and eventually tooth loss.
While gum disease treatments such as gum grafting can help treat periodontitis once you have it, it’s important to know that you can reduce your risk of developing gum disease in the first place by keeping your gums healthy. Here, our expert team at The Masters Dental Group in San Antonio, Texas, provides the top five tips for keeping your gums healthy.
While brushing is undoubtedly a pillar of good oral hygiene, flossing is one of the best ways you can protect your gums. Flossing removes plaque and food debris that your toothbrush alone can’t reach. And when you remove plaque from your gumline, you significantly reduce your risk of developing gingivitis and periodontitis.
Because plaque 一 a sticky, bacteria-laden biofilm 一 is the biggest risk factor for gum disease, removing the plaque is your best defense against gum disease. While flossing tackles plaque between your teeth and along your gumline, brushing removes plaque from the rest of your mouth.
Brushing your teeth also helps remove disease-causing bacteria from your mouth. Brush your teeth twice a day for a full two minutes with a soft-bristled toothbrush and a toothpaste that contains fluoride.
Tip: Be sure to brush your tongue to remove bacteria.
Smoking is notorious for the effect it has on your lungs, but the truth is that smoking affects nearly every system in your body, and that includes your mouth. Not only does smoking increase your risk of oral cancer, but it also affects your gums in two ways:
If you smoke, consider a smoking cessation program; if you don’t smoke, don’t start.
Inadequate vitamin C consumption is linked to poor gum health. You can find vitamin C in citrus fruit, strawberries, fortified juices, white potatoes, bell peppers, cruciferous vegetables, and tomatoes.
In addition to vitamin C, vitamin B12 and omega-3 fatty acids also support gum health. Milk, eggs, meat, and fortified cereals are good sources of B12. You can find omega-3 fatty acids, which help reduce gum inflammation, in fatty fish, walnuts, and flaxseed oil.
Gingivitis is the earliest form of gum disease, and it’s reversible. If you notice any red flags 一 bleeding or red gums, gum sensitivity, or blood when you brush your teeth 一 get to the dentist. Our team can help treat gingivitis and reverse the damage before it progresses into a more severe form of gum disease.
Whether you suspect you have gingivitis or full-blown gum disease, our expert team can help halt the progression of gum disease with medicated mouthwashes, deep cleanings, scaling and root planing, or gum grafts.
To learn more about how the highly skilled, caring team at The Masters Dental Group can help you keep your gums healthy, give us a call at 210-349-4424 to make an appointment today.