When most people think about a healthy mouth, they tend to think only about the health of the teeth. While healthy teeth are important for oral health, they are not the only thing. The health of your gums, or periodontal health, is also vitally important. The gums play several important roles in your mouth, and keeping them healthy enables them to do their jobs properly. Taking care of your entire mouth is essential for maintaining healthy teeth and gums, and LakeView Dental Arts can help.
The Importance of Healthy Gums
Your gums play an important role in your oral and overall health. The gums provide a tight seal around your teeth, effectively keeping out bacteria and other debris. The tissue helps to provide some stability, helping to hold them in proper alignment. They also play an integral role in the appearance of your smile. When your gums become diseased, tooth loss can occur.
What Is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is a progressive oral health condition. It begins when a buildup of plaque and bacteria irritate the gum tissue. This irritation can lead to inflammation or swelling. This early stage of gum disease, known as gingivitis, is the most easily treatable but the one that is often missed. Signs of gingivitis include gums that are inflamed and bleed easily. The gums may also appear bright red in color. Many adults have gingivitis, and it is reversible with daily oral hygiene, like brushing and flossing. If gum disease is left to progress, the swollen tissue begins to pull away from the teeth, breaking the protective seal. Pockets form and begin collecting bacteria and other debris. The bacteria continue to attack your gums and begin attacking your periodontal ligaments that hold your teeth in place, as well as attacking your jawbone. Over time, the gums recede, and the supporting structures weaken. The teeth can become loose and may eventually fall out.
How Is Gum Disease Treated?
There are several treatments available for gum disease. The exact treatment you receive depends upon the severity of your condition. Scaling and root planing is one of the most common treatments. This treatment is essentially a deep cleaning of your teeth. It involves a thorough cleaning of your teeth both above and below the gum line. Scaling cleans the visible surfaces of your teeth, as well as just below the gum line, while root planing involves smoothing the surfaces of your tooth’s roots.
Other treatments for gum disease include:
- Periodontal maintenance
- Gum flap surgery
- Pocket reduction surgery
- Gum grafting
How Do I Prevent Gum Disease?
Gum disease can be prevented. There are several components to maintaining your periodontal and whole mouth health. Proper oral hygiene plays a CRUCIAL role! It is important that you brush at least twice a day and floss at least once a day. In addition to your home care routine, it is also important that you have your teeth professionally cleaned and examined every six months.
While oral hygiene is essential, there are other things that you can do to help maintain your periodontal health. Lifestyle habits like smoking and excessive alcohol consumption can significantly increase your risk of developing gum disease. It is recommended that you quit smoking or using other tobacco products and limit your alcohol use. A well-balanced diet can also help. This can help to ensure that your gums, and the rest of your body, get the nutrients they need to remain healthy and functional. Foods particularly good for oral and periodontal health include crunchy fruits and vegetables, dark, leafy greens, lean proteins, and dairy.
Schedule Your Appointment
Periodontal health is an important component of maintaining a healthy mouth and preventing serious oral health complications. Call LakeView Dental Arts today to learn more at (865) 376-9687.