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Why Gum Health Is So Important
Proper gum health might not top the list of most people’s priorities. However, maintaining the gums and ensuring proper upkeep can help support the body’s overall well-being. From preventing infection to supporting the strength of the teeth, robust gums are the foundation of a healthy mouth, and learning to care for them can ensure a lifetime of beautiful smiles.
The purpose of the gums
Gums are designed to protect the base of the teeth where they meet the jawbone. Without them, the teeth would likely be exposed to harmful bacteria and decay quickly. This protective surface also helps teeth grow in properly and work to absorb any shock or damage the mouth endures, such as if it strikes a hard surface during a fall.
While the gums can protect and support teeth, this tissue can be vulnerable to disease and infection if not cared for properly. As such, learning about proper gum health can be the first, best defense when it comes to building an effective oral care plan.
Types of gum health problems
There are several different issues that can affect the health of the gums and one of the most common is a lack of proper brushing or flossing. Neglect may lead to a variety of problems that may be difficult to treat:
A dental professional can identify these problems during a routine checkup, but some individuals who suffer from them might notice such symptoms during brushing.
If oral neglect continues, the gums may become infected and suffer from a condition known as gingivitis. When this occurs, plaque buildup around the gumline causes swelling and irritation because of the bacteria it contains. As this buildup continues, people with gingivitis may experience sore gums that bleed or seem continuously irritated. The process can be reversed with consistent and correct oral care.
Caring for the gums
While regular dental checkups and teeth cleaning help keep gums healthy, caring for them at home each day can keep them in good shape as well. Those affected by or concerned about developing gum disease can ask a dental professional about what type of toothbrush is best, such as a sonic or electric model. Flossing is another strategy for supporting gum health, as this can dislodge and remove food particles that toothbrush bristles might not reach. Flossing once a day, usually in the evenings, may prevent plaque buildup.
The gums can also be damaged by certain lifestyle choices, such as smoking and chewing tobacco. Quitting or cutting back on these activities may prevent gum discoloration, swelling and irritation.
How gingivitis may affect the body
If gum disease goes untreated, it can turn into periodontitis, which usually causes infection in pockets around the teeth as the gums pull away and reveal more of the bone. This can result in tooth loss. Chronic gingivitis can also cause bacteria to enter the bloodstream when affected people swallow, which may increase the risk of infection in the internal organs.
Gum health can affect overall oral conditions and prevent diseases that stem from the infections gingivitis and periodontitis may cause. Speaking to a dental professional is typically the best strategy for learning how to maintain the gums for lifelong health.
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