September 25, 2018
From a very young age, most people are taught to maintain their oral health or risk getting cavities. Although preventing cavities is a very important part of oral hygiene, it’s far from the only reason to brush and floss your teeth every day. One other equally important reason to maintain good oral hygiene is the health of your gums. We understand that there are a lot of misconceptions about gums out there, so in this blog, we’re going to take a look at five important things you need to know about them that may not be common knowledge.
They Protect The Bone
The primary function of your gums is to protect the roots of your teeth and your jawbone. If you’ve ever wondered why your gums are slippery and slimy, this is why. Along with saliva, the gums help to resist bacteria and food particles from reaching the most sensitive areas in your mouth. What this means is that you need to be extra careful when taking care of your gums. If they become infected, they can pull back and expose the roots of the teeth.
The Majority Of Americans Have Unhealthy Gums
Adults age 35 to 44 have lost at least one tooth according to the Centers For Disease Control (CDC), and half of American adults have gum disease. To an oral health specialist, these statistics are pretty haunting and show that many Americans don’t take their oral health seriously enough. What’s more is that many instances of tooth loss could be prevented if the person seeks treatment early on. Gum disease is characterized by swollen, itchy, painful, or bleeding gums, which many people think of as normal when brushing or flossing.
Gum Disease Is Only The Beginning
Remember that gum disease is just a sign that the worst is yet to come if you don’t change your oral health routine. Gum disease can progress to much worse conditions including gum recession which exposes the root of your tooth to bacteria and periodontal disease that damages your jawbone and the periodontal ligament. When this happens, you’re at risk of losing your teeth. As such, it’s important to take it seriously if you’re experiencing swollen or bleeding gums. Although it may not seem like a big deal now, you could be faced with a serious condition later on.
Life Choices Matter
Aside from maintaining an impeccable oral health routine, there are several things you can do to ensure you keep your gums healthy. According to WebMD, smoking impedes the normal function of gum tissue cells and impairs blood flow, meaning your gums are less capable of fighting off infection. Additionally, smokers are significantly more likely to develop oral cancers which can lead to loss of teeth and be life-threatening.
Your diet also matters when it comes to the health of your gums. Although saliva plays an important role in diluting and removing harmful substances from the gum tissue and teeth, you need to ensure you’re limiting sugary and acidic foods in your diet. Bacteria that forms near the gumline is especially damaging to gum tissue and can eventually turn into plaque or tartar.
If you have diabetes, keeping your blood sugar levels in check is very important. If you have diabetes, you probably know that its effects make it more difficult for your body to fight off infections and disease — the same goes for gum disease and other oral health conditions. Speak with your periodontist about your diabetes to ensure you receive the correct treatment and are able to reduce your chances of contracting gum disease.
Contact Pacific Northwest Periodontics
Although we’re taught from a very young age that the health of our teeth is very important, many of the biggest oral health concerns start with the gums. Awareness is often the best tool we have to fight gum disease and help people maintain healthier lives. Here at Pacific Northwest Periodontics, we specialize in dental implants, gum disease treatment, and a variety of other services to help you with your long-term oral health. If you have any questions or you’d like to schedule an appointment, give us a call today.