You might think they’re there just to hold your teeth in place, but your gums can protect or harm your overall health. Uncontrolled gum disease can even lead to heart disease and diabetes.
Bacteria that accumulate in the mouth cause gum disease, also known as periodontitis, as they form plaque and tartar on the teeth. Gum disease leads to inflammation, which is the body’s natural response to infection. Chronic inflammation contributes to a wide range of health problems. That’s why taking care of your gums is important for your health.
Recognize the Warning Signs of Gum Disease
Gum disease is often painless and may go unnoticed until a dental checkup. But if you notice any of the following warning signs, it’s essential to see your dentist right away.
- Red, swollen, or tender gums
- Bleeding while brushing or flossing
- Receding gums, making teeth appear longer
- Lingering bad breath
- Loose teeth
- Shifting teeth
The Consequences of Untreated Gum Disease
Taking care of your gums is important because untreated gum disease can have severe repercussions on your health. Look out for these potential complications.
- Tooth loss: Advanced gum disease can eat away at the bony support structures of the teeth, leading to tooth loss.
- Cardiovascular diseases: Research indicates a link between gum disease and a greater risk of heart attacks and strokes.
- Diabetes: People with diabetes are more at risk for developing gum disease, and gum infections can make blood sugar control more difficult.
- Respiratory infections: Gum disease creates a higher risk of respiratory disease.
How To Take Care of Your Gums
Sure, you brush before you go to bed and when you wake up in the morning. But there’s more to oral hygiene than a good brushing. Don’t skip any of the following oral hygiene steps.
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day, ideally after meals. Consider using an electric toothbrush.
- Floss after meals to remove plaque from between your teeth and under your gum line.
- Use an antimicrobial mouthwash to decrease bacteria and plaque activity.
- Don’t skip regular dental checkups and cleanings.
- Avoid smoking or using tobacco products, which can harm gum tissues.
The Importance of Developing Good Oral Hygiene Habits for Kids
Teaching children good oral hygiene practices from an early age is crucial. These habits will set them up for a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums. Learn facts about oral hygiene for children and use these tips to help your children develop good oral hygiene habits.
- As soon as your child has teeth, begin brushing them twice a day using a soft-bristled toothbrush and a rice-sized amount of toothpaste formulated for kids.
- Teach your child to brush on their own and help when needed.
- Teach your child proper flossing techniques as soon as they have two teeth that touch.
- Schedule regular dental checkups, starting around their first birthday.
Now that you know that gum health is vital for overall well-being, you can take steps to maintain oral health for yourself and your kids.