Maintaining Healthy Gums
Healthy teeth are important, but without healthy gums, those teeth won’t stay in our heads. Pay attention to your dentist at your next Tulsa teeth cleaning; they always check on their patient’s gums. All too often, those of us who aren’t dentists seem to forget about this. It’s even reflected in the way products for dental hygiene are advertised; with a heavy focus on sparkling teeth and minimal attention to the gums (they just aren’t as glamorous). The smart money, though, is on a more holistic approach to the mouth, taking care of it in its entirety instead of approaching it as separate components.
For instance, the best time and method for tending to your gums overlaps perfectly with brushing your teeth. Dentists always tell us to brush our gums when we brush our teeth, and this is why: the gentle circular motion of a toothbrush on your gums helps to keep them appropriately tough and stimulates the tissue towards healthy growth. Not only that but brushing your gums will also dislodge food particles and bacteria.
When we take care of our gums, we’re not just trying to keep them feeling and looking healthy. There are illnesses specific to the gums that can develop when we don’t properly maintain them. When food particles are left to gather and feed bacteria, these bacteria release waste that damages the flesh of our gums. That’s bad enough, but when left unattended for long enough, bacteria can move into the tissue of your gums and infect it, even potentially moving into the jaw bone eventually.
Gum inflammation—when they’re getting puffy and starting to bleed more easily—is called gingivitis. This is the early consequence of bacteria flourishing on your gums. If left untreated, gingivitis can lead to periodontitis—full fledged gum disease. When things get to this stage, it means the very stuff that holds your teeth in place is at risk. The bone that connects your teeth, and the tissue around it, can be damaged by the infection of bacteria as it works its way deeper into the gums.
Thankfully, both gingivitis and periodontitis are treatable. The treatment for gingivitis is relatively simple and usually only requires restoring your mouth to a clean environment. After a few weeks of proper daily oral care, and a Tulsa teeth cleaning, the symptoms of gingivitis should dissipate. Periodontitis, on the other hand, can be rather complicated to treat. It still involves cleaning up the mouth and keeping it that way, but it also can require more intensive treatment—even including surgery in some cases.
The best approach to these illnesses is preventative. Like many problems in life, these illnesses are easier avoided than treated. Twice-yearly Tulsa teeth cleanings, twice-daily brushing, and flossing once a day should keep your gums healthy. Just make sure that you’re brushing your gums as well as your teeth. If you can’t remember when you got your last dental cleaning, then schedule a Tulsa teeth cleaning and let us show you the way to a healthy smile.