Preventing Poor Gum Health
By Stephen Rogers on May 07, 2017
Most people know how to care for their teeth, but when it comes to the gums, they may not understand the importance of flossing and other oral care tips for the gums. Unfortunately, this can lead to poor gum health and other oral health problems. Restorative dentistry treatments are available to repair the damage caused by poor gum health and restore the health and beauty of the smile. Although treatments are available, preventing damage before it occurs is best. Protect your smile from the top causes of poor gum health with these tips from our team of Long Island, NY dentists at Greater Long Island Dental.
Why Is Poor Gum Health a Concern?
Poor gum health is just as serious as poor dental health. After all, the gums help support the teeth and keep them in place. When it comes to gum health, periodontal disease, commonly called gum disease, and gum recession are two of the biggest concerns as they can lead to serious oral health problems.
Periodontal disease is a bacterial infection of the gums caused by plaque and tartar buildup. Periodontal disease often starts with gum inflammation and bleeding gums when brushing and flossing. As gum disease progresses, it can lead to gum recession, tooth decay, and ultimately tooth loss.
Gum recession may result from gum disease or aggressively brushing the teeth. With gum recession, gum tissue is lost along the gum line. As it progresses, delicate structures of the teeth, like the roots, may be exposed to plaque and bacteria. This can lead to tooth decay and tooth loss.
What Causes Poor Gum Health?
While poor oral hygiene is one of the biggest causes of poor gum health, it is not the only culprit. Poor gum health has a number of potential causes, including:
- Poor oral hygiene: Neglecting brushing and flossing can damage gum and dental health by allowing plaque and bacteria to build up and increase the risk of gum disease and tooth decay.
- Brushing too aggressively: Brushing aggressively, meaning using too much pressure, brushing with a hard-bristled toothbrush, or both, can damage the gums and cause them to recede.
- Using tobacco products: Smoking and chewing tobacco cause plaque to buildup within the mouth, increasing the risk of gum disease and gum recession. Smoking can also impair the body's ability to heal and fight infection, further increasing the risk of gum disease.
- Diabetes: Those with diabetes, especially uncontrolled diabetes, are more likely to suffer from gum disease. It is believed this is because diabetes can make it difficult for the body to heal itself and fight infection.
- Poor diet: The bacteria in plaque thrive off of sugars and carbohydrates. As a result, eating an unhealthy diet of foods and drinks high in sugars and carbohydrates can increase the risk of gum disease and tooth decay.
- Genetics: Unfortunately, some people are genetically more likely to develop gum health issues. It is especially important for those with a family history of gum disease and gum recession to take good care of their teeth and gums.
Tips to Protect Your Gum Health
Protecting the health of your gums begins with practicing good oral hygiene. The teeth should be brushed a minimum of twice a day, but preferably after every meal. Flossing is just as important to gum health, if not more so, and should never be skipped. In addition to practicing good oral hygiene habits at home, you should see your dentist at least once every six months for a professional cleaning and checkup. You can also protect the health of your gums by eating a healthy diet low in sugar and carbohydrates. If you smoke or use tobacco, seek help to quit. If you have diabetes, be sure to keep your disease under control through diet and medication as prescribed by a doctor.
Discover Your Treatment Options
If you suspect you have poor gum health or other dental issues, please contact our team at Greater Long Island Dental to learn more about your treatment options.
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