Why Is Gum Health So Important and How Do I Improve It?

Many people take gum health for granted. While the cleanliness and colour of teeth are prioritised, gum health tends to be overlooked.

But did you know that the health of your gums can have an effect on your physical health if they are neglected? While maintaining healthy teeth is a large part of having a beautiful smile, so is the overall health of your gums.

To learn more about how gum disease can affect your overall health and how to keep it at bay, read more in this blog.

The Function of Gums

So, what is the exact function of your gums? After all, they are not merely there for decoration.

Your gums are an incredible physical mechanism designed to protect your teeth and prevent diseases from developing in your mouth.

Your gums are comprised of a soft skin which covers the bones of your mouth and teeth. This tissue forms a tight seal around the teeth to keep them in place and provide a barrier against bacteria.

Without the correct gum care, bacteria and food particles can find their way in and around your teeth, which could lead to gum disease.

Gum Disease and How It Affects Your Health

The human mouth is a hive of bacteria – no matter how often you clean your teeth and gums, your mouth will always harbour bacteria.

Much like the intestines, some of this bacteria is good and bad – this is known as the oral microbiome.

This is where the maintenance of gum health is so important in order to keep a healthy balance of bacteria in the mouth, staving off periodontal disease.

What causes the development of periodontal disease? The build-up of pathogenic bacteria in the gums i.e. bad bacteria.

Along with this is the body’s response to this bacteria, which results in inflammation. Essentially, inflammation works to destroy gum tissue, which is spurred on by pathogenic bacteria.

Gum Disease Effects on Physical Health

The effects of periodontal disease can range from mild to severe, as with any infection in the body.

Periodontal disease can cause mild redness and swelling of the gums, also known as gingivitis or more severe destruction of the teeth and bone structure.

The destruction of the tooth’s bony structure can lead to tooth loss and the spread of bacteria throughout the rest of the body.

In recent years, research has found that people suffering from periodontal disease are at higher risk of developing the following conditions:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetes
  • Chronic respiratory disease
  • Dementia
  • Complications in pregnancy

The close association between these conditions and periodontal disease is inflammation which plays a key role in the cause and effect of the disease.

The bottom line is that if plaque is not properly removed from the teeth and gums, it can release toxins which work to inflame the gums.

This results in the onset of gingivitis, which can then progress into a more serious condition, such as periodontal disease.

Some of the most common symptoms of gingivitis include swollen and red gums, bleeding when brushing your teeth or even eating.

Once gingivitis progresses to periodontal disease, the gums begin to pull away from the teeth, causing them to loosen and possibly fall out.

Without treatment, periodontal disease works to slowly destroy the gum structure and supporting bones of your teeth.

How to Prevent Periodontal Disease

Here are just a few of the simplest ways to prevent the onset of gingivitis and periodontal disease.

If you already suffer from gingivitis or have been diagnosed with periodontal disease, these tips should also help minimise your symptoms:

1. Brush and Floss Consistently

This is a given, but many people fail to floss as regularly as they should. Make sure to brush your teeth twice a day and floss just before bed.

If you are fitted with bridges, tooth implants or mouth plates, consider using an interdental brush to remove trapped food particles from teeth.

2. Avoid Smoking

Smoking is one of the worst things you can do for the health of your teeth and gums.

Tobacco works to inhibit the healing of soft tissue, causing dryness and the ideal environment for pathogenic bacteria to thrive.

As such, smokers are at a higher risk of developing tooth decay, gum disease, and oral cancer. If you smoke, it’s time to consider quitting in order to drastically improve your oral health.

3. Maintain a Healthy Diet

This goes with saying- maintaining a healthy diet is not only good for your oral health but your overall physical well-being too.

A healthy diet is one that is rich in vegetables, healthy oils and fats, fruits, legumes, nuts, fatty fish and plenty of water.

Research has also shown that a diet high in omega-3 fats is best to help reduce symptoms of periodontal disease and keep further infection at bay.

4. Don’t Skip Dental Check-Ups

In general, you should go for regular dental check-ups every 6 months to a year.

During your check-up, your dentist will remove bacteria and plaque build-up in your mouth. They will also advise on the best course of action if you suffer from periodontal disease.

5. Learn the Signs of Periodontal Disease

Make sure that you are in-tune with the signs and symptoms of both gingivitis and periodontal disease.

Look out for swollen, red and sensitive gums. If your gums bleed when brushing or eating, you must visit a dentist as soon as possible.

The more dramatic signs of disease include pockets of pus, receding gums, widening spaces between teeth or ill-fitting bridges and dentures.

Book Your Dental Check-Up Today

At Much Hadham Dental Care, based in Hertfordshire, we take gum health seriously. With over 25 years’ experience in dentistry work, we are trusted experts in our field.

We pride ourselves on patient satisfaction, which we believe is the foundation of our practice success.

Whether you’re looking for a simple dental check-up, Invisalign, teeth whitening or more, we offer it all.

Book your appointment with us today.

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