Did you know that the health of your teeth partially depends on the health of your gums? This is because your gums are one of the supporting tissues that help to hold your teeth in place. Healthy gum tissue is coral pink in color, is firmly attached to the teeth, and completely covers the tooth roots. Unfortunately, however, not everyone has healthy gums.
In fact, studies by the CDC indicate that 47.2% of American adults over the age of 30 have some form of gum disease. Gum disease occurs when there is excess bacteria that accumulate along the gum line and cause inflammation of the gums. There are two forms of gum disease: gingivitis, which is the mild form and periodontitis, which is the advanced form.
Many people who have gingivitis may not experience noticeable symptoms, which means that they likely don’t even realize they have gum disease. Unfortunately, this can allow the disease to progress into periodontitis. In order to decrease your risk of developing advanced gum disease and improve your gum health, here are some things you can do:
Brush Twice a Day
Brushing twice a day is important to reduce the risk of tooth decay, but it is also important to reduce the risk of gum disease. This is because brushing your teeth removes excess plaque and bacteria from the surface of your teeth, while fluoridated toothpaste makes it harder for plaque to accumulate. To remove as much plaque as possible while brushing, be sure to replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months when the bristles begin to fray.
In addition to brushing twice a day, you will also want to floss daily to remove plaque from the areas your toothbrush misses. In most cases, these areas are the spaces between the teeth, behind the back teeth, and along the gum line. Unlike brushing your teeth, you will only want to floss once a day because flossing too much can actually cause your gums to get irritated. To get the most out of your once a day flossing, it is recommended that you floss before you brush right before bedtime. This is because flossing clears the spaces between your teeth so that fluoride can circulate throughout the mouth.
Use Mouth Rinse After Meals
Another way to improve your gum health is to use an over the counter mouth rinse after meals. In some cases, your dentist may also prescribe a certain type of mouthwash to use. Using mouth rinse after meals helps to remove excess food debris and prevent plaque from forming. However, mouth rinse should only be used in addition to regular brushing and flossing, and should never be used as a replacement.
Schedule Dental Cleanings
To decrease your risk of developing gum disease, as well as to treat an active case of gum disease, you will need to schedule regular dental cleanings. For most people, dental cleanings are generally scheduled every six months, however your dentist may recommend more frequent cleanings if you have an advanced case or are at an increased risk. Professional dental cleanings are recommended in addition to regular brushing and flossing because they allow your dentist to remove plaque and tartar that you have missed. In fact, plaque that sits long enough will harden into tartar and tartar can only be removed using special dental tools.
Smoking causes many different health complications, so it should come as no surprise that gum disease is one of these complications. Since people who smoke are significantly more likely to develop gum disease, it is strongly recommended to quit. Not only does smoking increase your risk, but it also compromises the body’s ability to heal itself, meaning that gum disease can progress faster than normal.
Dr. Sadati possesses extensive experience in all aspects of advanced restorative dentistry, with an emphasis in cosmetic and implant dentistry. He has attained Accredited Fellow status in the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD), the most rigorous, demanding credentialing process in the world. He is the only AACD Accredited Fellow in South Florida.