Having white teeth is important in maintaining a healthy smile, but you shouldn’t forget your gums too. Note that being cavity-free doesn’t mean that you can have gum or periodontal disease. As this is usually painless in the early stages, you may believe that you have healthy teeth and gums.
The Start of Gum Disease
Gum disease begins with plaque buildup along the gum line. Plaque is a sticky, colorless film of bacteria that can cause gum infection and gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease. Dentists in Wilmette note that this makes your gums red, swollen, tender, and prone to bleeding.
Progression of Gum Disease
When gingivitis is neglected, it can progress into periodontitis, the advanced stage of the disease. This can affect the gums that hold your choppers in place, ruining your gums and bones when left untreated. Advanced periodontitis or the final stage of gum disease can occur, destroying the bone that supports your teeth, which may require tooth removal.
Protect Your Gums
Don’t let gum disease compromise your oral health. Apart from brushing twice a day, you can show those pink tissues some love with these suggestions:
- Floss. This helps remove plaque and bacteria that your toothbrush left behind. The American Academy of Periodontology notes doing this once a day is the best way to prevent gum disease. It doesn’t matter whether you do it before or after brushing; the only thing that matters is that you do it.
- Professional cleanings. Regular dental visits are essential for removing plaque missed when flossing or brushing and detecting early signs of gum disease. A dental cleaning is also the only way to remove tartar or hardened plaque.
- Stop smoking. The habit increases your risk of developing gum disease. It also weakens your immune system, making it harder for you to fight a gum infection. Smoking, furthermore, slows the healing of damaged gums.
Care for your gums to maintain good oral health. Ask your dentist for other recommendations on keeping your gums healthy and the right products to use.