Although not always on top of mind when talking about oral health, gums are actually important and are associated with maintaining overall health. When neglected, gum diseases can lead to potentially life-threatening infections and tooth loss and these can be associated with other health problems.
Gum disease is common in Australia, with 3 of 10 adults experiencing moderate to severe conditions. Fortunately, these figures can decrease with proper oral hygiene and regular dental visits. But before we deep dive into the ways we can prevent gum disease, let us learn more about the importance of healthy gums.
Healthy Gums Supports Your Teeth
If you want to keep your pearly whites, then pay attention to your gums. The gingiva, more commonly known as gums are the soft tissue that holds your teeth, its roots and your jaw bones. They keep the teeth in place, but more than that, they act as a protective layer against bacteria that cause diseases.
Healthy gums are well attached to the teeth surface preventing bacteria or food entering between gum and teeth. If not treated properly, bacteria can infect gums and the chronic infection of gum can reduce the attachment of gum to the teeth causing deepening gum pockets and recession of the gum line as shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1. Chronic gum disease has caused the recession of gums.
Prolonged gum disease can lead to teeth loss. The build up of dental plaque can infect the gums, causing gingivitis or worst, periodontitis. Periodontitis is a prolonged form of gum disease which can destroy the bone structures supporting teeth as seen in Figure 1.
Gum diseases are burdensome
Swollen gums can be painful and can interrupt your daily life. You will have trouble chewing and notice a bad taste in your mouth. You’re also likely to develop bad breath due to gum diseases. In some cases, the gum disease can also be asymptomatic only expressing itself with bleeding gums during brushing.
Bad gum health are linked to other diseases
Gum diseases are not entirely to be blamed for other health conditions. However, experts have found over the years that those with periodontal diseases are at higher risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, pregnancy complications, and dementia. This is based on an article published by Harvard. Also, a recent study published in Journal of Clinical Periodontology showed that people with periodontitis have almost nine times higher risk of dying from coronavirus disease.
1) Good oral hygiene
Brush your teeth at least twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste. Use a brush that has soft bristles so it won't irritate your gum. And, remember to replace your brush every three months or earlier to keep it clean.
In addition to brushing your teeth, floss daily. To thoroughly remove plaque, wrap your floss around both sides of each tooth and do a push-pull motion.
2) Lumoral twice a week
Take your oral hygiene to a new level with the most effective mouth rinse on the market. Lumoral is a technical mouthwash solution that kills even microscopic plaque bacteria in the mouth. This device can be purchased online and be easily used at home.
This medical device is particularly effective against Streptococcus mutans, bacteria known to play a more prominent role in the worsening of caries and periodontitis.
The major benefit of this light activatable technical mouthwash over regular mouthwashes is the accuracy and superior antibacterial strength upon light activation. Where normal mouthwashes affect the whole oral microbiome, the technical mouthwash only targets those bacteria in dental plaque leaving the rest of the oral microbiome in peace.
The accuracy of Lumoral method makes it ideal for continuous use for preventing oral diseases without the worry of negative side-effects that are associated with other antibacterial home use methods such as chlorhexidine mouthwashes.
3) Regular dental visits
Prevent tartar build-up that can cause gingivitis by having oral prophylaxis or thorough cleaning every six months. And if you’re feeling something unusual related to your oral health, don’t self-medicate and consult your doctor immediately.
4) Healthy diet
Avoid food and drinks that are high in sugar because sugar and bacteria in the mouth, when combined, forms plaque that causes gingivitis.
Also, eat a balanced and nutritious diet with vitamins and minerals that your body needs to boost your immunity. If your body is strong, it’ll help prevent various complications such as gum disease. Gum infections also tend to heal faster if you have strong immunity. If you can, try adding more calcium, vitamin B12 and C into your diet as they are specifically good for the gums.
Lastly, keep yourself hydrated and drink plenty of water so your body can produce more saliva which helps fight bacteria.
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