“My gums start to bleed when I brush my teeth, and I am not brushing hard. Does this mean that I have gum disease?” Sabrina – San Antonio
We often get questions from our patients about the health of their gums. When your gums are healthy, they tend to be coral pink in color. But when this soft tissue covering the base of teeth starts to turn red, your gums may be in a state of compromised health.
September marks National Gum Care Month. This is a great time to check if you’re making the right choices to keep your gums healthy and strong. There are simple, yet effective ways to protect them. Remember, you can prevent gum disease and tooth decay. It just takes a little TLC on your end.
WHY ARE YOUR GUMS IMPORTANT ?
Before we talk about best practices for protecting your gums, let’s discuss why this part of your mouth is so important. The gum is the base that supports your teeth. If your gums are not healthy, they will pull away from your teeth and expose the bone. Gum recession can result in tooth loss.
Meantime, the health of your gums may have a direct correlation with the health of your heart. If you have periodontal disease or gum disease, there will be bacteria in your mouth, and those bacteria may very well be running throughout your bloodstream. “When you have that active infection in your mouth, it’s usually an indicator that your heart health needs to be monitored,” said Dr. Laura Benjamin of Advanced Smile Care.
BEST PRACTICES TO KEEP YOUR GUMS HEALTHY
It comes down to the basics. You need to make sure you are brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing on a regular basis. Remember, you are the strongest ally of the health of your teeth and gums. The cleanings will reduce the chances of plaque building in and around your gum line. Plaque is a sticky film which contains large colonies of unhealthy bacteria. If plaque is neglected and allowed to fester on your gums, it eats away at your tooth enamel and hurts your gums. Plaque sets the stage for the development of a disease called gingivitis. The disease causes an inflammatory reaction of your gums. Your gums may bleed, swell, feel tender or look oddly red.
Here are a few tips we recommend to keep your gums in tip-top shape:
1. Incorporate fluoride toothpaste: Fluoride has proven to strengthen your tooth enamel and prevent tooth decay, which will only help your gums.
2. Use mouthwash: There are mouthwashes that can help reduce gingivitis and tooth decay. However, the American Dental Association advises that children younger than 6 years old refrain from mouthwash use. Children have a high chance of swallowing mouthwash.
3. Quit smoking and vaping: The carcinogens and toxic chemicals in cigarettes and e-cigarettes will do a number on your teeth and gums. Smoking increases your chance of developing gum disease and tooth loss.
4. Visit your dentist: Your dentist can help point you in the right direction. They may recommend additional cleanings to help keep your gums healthy.
“We’re committed at Advanced Smile Care to providing you with the best care. We want to make sure your teeth and gums are in the best shape possible,” said Dr. Tony Thomas of Advanced Smile Care. “The health of your gums can tell a lot about your overall health. Come visit us and we can help you get on track to a healthier you.”