Our teeth are more than just a couple of rows of pearly white enamels. They play a key role in food digestion, they give shape to our face, and they help us to form words. So, we clean them, floss them, take fluoride, try to avoid candy or sugary sweet drinks which could lead to tooth decay and damage, and basically try to make sure that our smile stays as pristine as it was when we first flashed it as babies.
But also part of your oral health, but often forgotten, are your gums which help anchor our teeth to our jaw.
Looking after our gums is just as important as looking after our teeth.
What can go wrong with our gums?
Plenty! Most people will have some form of periodontal, or gum, disease at some stage of their life. This occurs when the plaque on our teeth causes a bacterial infection. There are two forms – gingivitis, which is relatively mild, and periodontitis, which is more severe and can lead to problems ranging from losing teeth, to respiratory issues, heart disease, and has even been linked to pregnancy problems like premature births, or low birth weights.
How do I know if I have gum disease?
The early warning signs of gum disease include:
- Swollen gums
- Bleeding when brushing or flossing
- Bad breath
- Gaps forming between teeth and gums
- Sensitive teeth
- Pain when chewing
What makes me likely to contract a gum disease?
Anyone can develop periodontal disease, but there are certain risk factors which can make us more vulnerable to gum problems. People with diabetes are among the most likely to have problems with their teeth or gums. The extra hormones which build up in the body during puberty or pregnancy is another risk factor, as is that perennial favorite, smoking. Periodontal diseases can also develop as a result of poor nutrition, inferior dental care, or as a result of bruxism (teeth grinding).
How a Dentist Can Help
The best way you can look after your gums is to treat them with the same care and consideration that you treat your teeth. Because gum disease is caused by a buildup of plaque, you need to make sure that as much of this buildup is removed as possible. You can do this by meticulous cleaning, however, the best way of removing this plaque is by a process called scaling and root planing. This is when your dentist or technician scrapes away the plaque, then smooths the roots to try to stop the bacteria from reforming.
Gum disease is treatable!
Regular checkups and good oral hygiene can save your mouth from the perils of this nasty, but curable, problem.
Look after your gums. We can diminish or even eliminate periodontal disease in Farmington Hills and throughout America. There’s no reason you can’t hold on to your teeth for life.