To keep your teeth healthy, you need healthy gums. When you pull back your lips and look into your mouth, you see your teeth and gums. Your gums protect the base of your teeth and hold them into place.
Healthy gums should look pink; and they often have a stippled appearance like the texture of an orange peel. Your gums should be firm to the touch; and they shouldn’t move. They also should be tight against your teeth, with a scalloped appearance around each tooth.
If your gums are red, swollen or bleed easily, you may have gingivitis, which is the beginning stage of periodontal or gum disease. Gingivitis is usually caused by the build-up of plaque and bacteria, which causes your gum tissue to pull away from your teeth. If gingivitis is left untreated, it can lead to tooth loss. However, gingivitis can be easily prevented.
Steps to Prevent Gingivitis
Here are some things you can to do to keep your gums healthy.
- Be gentle with your gums. Try to avoid injuring them with your fork when eating, or stabbing them with your toothbrush, or burning them with hot food.
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day. Spend about 2 minutes thoroughly brushing your teeth and cleaning all areas of your mouth, including your tongue. Brushing helps to remove plaque from your teeth and gum margins.
- Floss at least once a day. Floss between your teeth and under your gum line – areas your toothbrush can’t access. Flossing removes plaque and bacteria, and cleans away any food particles.
- Rinse your mouth with an anti-bacterial mouthwash after every meal. Rinsing washes away bits of food, removes bacteria and reduces plaque formation.
- Eat a well-balanced diet. A nutritious diet strengthens your immune system, so it can fight off infection. Avoid foods high in sugar content, and limit snacks. Also, drink lots of water to wash away plaque.
- Avoid tobacco products. People who smoke or chew tobacco are prone to gingivitis. Also, the chemicals in tobacco and the heat from cigarettes can irritate and damage your gums, increasing inflammation.
- Visit your dentist twice a year for regular dental checkups and cleanings. Regular cleanings can prevent the build-up of plaque around the gum margins. Plus, your dentist can spot problems with your gums before they become more serious and treat them.
By taking these simple, but necessary steps, you can keep your gums healthy and prevent tooth loss. Contact Danville Family Dentistry to schedule an appointment if you think you may have gingivitis, so we can start treating it as soon as possible.