As you grow up, the focus of oral hygiene seems to constantly focus on teeth. You don’t want a cavity, so you make sure to avoid sugary foods and to brush your teeth regularly. However, ignoring the health complications that could result from unhealthy gums can be incredibly harmful.
Your gums are prone to numerous potentially painful diseases if not cared for properly. These issues can hinder your ability to eat, chew, swallow, and get through the day without feeling pain and discomfort. These gum maladies are easily identified, prevented, or treated – provided that you get an early diagnosis by visiting your dentist regularly.
While gum health may seem secondary to the health of your teeth, it is important to not ignore these quintessential parts of your body when thinking about oral health. Your gums are what hold your teeth after all! What’s more is that gum health can affect other components of your health overall. Here are a few reasons why it is so important to take care of your gums.
1. Prevents Gum Disease
Taking care of your gums is essential – with proper brushing and care you can help reduce your risk of gum disease. This is a painful condition, mostly signified by gum redness, swelling and bleeding, and can even lead to tooth loss. It is important to take care of your gums with proper diet and hygiene in order to avoid this painful ailment.
When your gums build up plaque and tartar over time, they also accumulate harmful bacteria. These bacteria can cause inflammation of the gums and lead eventually to gingivitis. In the early stages, this can be reversed by rigorous cleaning and flossing. Later stages of gingivitis can develop into periodontal disease, which can be even more painful, and which causes your gums to swell and pull away from your teeth.
If your gums are bleeding, red, or swollen, be sure to head into the dentist to be checked for gum disease.
How can you avoid gum disease in the first place? First of all, avoid the main causes, like smoking, ineffective brushing and plaque build-up. Smokers are much more likely to end up with gum disease than non-smokers. In addition to this, avoid sugary foods in your diet, which may expedite the process of bacteria build-up through plaque and tartar.
Along with eliminating risk factors, general dental hygiene is the other way to avoid gum disease. This means that brushing and flossing your teeth daily, and going to the dentist for teeth cleaning regularly are essential in preventing gum disease.
2. Can Lead to Illnesses Elsewhere in the Body
The health of your gums affects much more than just your mouth. Gum disease has been shown to correlate heavily with cardiovascular disease and respiratory infections. This means that keeping healthy gums means keeping a healthy body overall.
Those afflicted with periodontal disease, or advanced gum disease, experience plaque build-up (this time, we’re talking about the kind in your arteries). This build-up causes a fatty obstruction in the arteries can even block blood flow completely – leading to a heart attack.
Bacteria that live in the plaque in your mouth can also end up causing pneumonia or other respiratory infections, when the bacteria in the throat is inhaled into the respiratory tract. It is important to rid the body of this bacteria by thoroughly brushing, flossing and using mouth wash.
Taking care of the gums by ridding the mouth of plaque and tartar build-up reduces the bacteria that can lead to very serious cardiovascular and respiratory ailments. Practice daily oral hygiene and attend the dentist for regular cleanings to maintain oral health.
3. Keeps Your Smile Gorgeous
Many studies show that the first thing a new person notices about you is your smile! In contrast, it’s also easy to notice when someone doesn’t practice good dental hygiene. Gum health is especially important in keeping your smile looking great for yourself and others.
Ignoring your gum health can lead to many different side effects. One that is potentially noticeable when you smile are receding gums. This unpleasant result of poor dental hygiene can cause you to feel less confident in your smile, as it means that the gums are lifting off of the teeth and exposing more of the root of the tooth.
There are many factors that lead to receding gums, one of which is neglecting to brush twice a day, floss or use mouth wash. Make sure to brush and floss daily and attend regular dentist appointments to ensure that your teeth are in the best shape to prevent receding gums.
The less well-known causes of receding gums include risk factors like smoking and drinking alcohol. Those who smoke and drink are much more likely to suffer from receding gums if they do not prioritise their oral hygiene and health. Another possible cause is grinding your teeth. People with anxiety tend to grind their teeth without even noticing, especially during their sleep. The pressure caused by grinding causes the gums to recede and become sensitive.
If you are a smoker, drink alcohol, practice poor oral hygiene, or grind your teeth, you are not alone, and your situation is not hopeless. These risk factors can easily be rectified with a few simple changes to your lifestyle in order to avoid the painful and cosmetic effects of receding gums.
If you smoke or drink, try to quit young or reduce your intake. If this is not an option, then make sure to regularly attend the dentist and receive an examination. This way, an expert can catch the problem early and rectify resulting issues.
For those who grind their teeth, use a mouthguard! Dentists now make mouth guards specifically for those who grind their teeth at night. This guard can take some of the strain off your teeth and therefore reduce your risk of ending up with receding gums. If your gums have already begun to recede, it can slow or stop the process.
The Bottom Line
Your gum health may seem secondary, but when you consider all the ways it affects your lifestyle and body, you’ll want to think twice about ignoring it. Making small changes in your lifestyle to promote oral hygiene can help you to live a healthier, happier – and even longer – life.