Keeping your gums healthy is not only important for your teeth, it is important for your overall health. Research shows that gum disease can contribute to many other systemic diseases such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and dementia. It is usually not difficult to keep your gums healthy. Gum health can be maintained with proper oral hygiene which simply consists of brushing at least twice a day for two minutes, flossing daily, rinsing with an antibacterial rinse, and visiting your dentist for biannual cleanings and checkups. If you are wondering how to keep your gums healthy, it can be that simple.
Plaque is a part of life. It forms on your teeth daily. It is a sticky, clear, biofilm that consists of cavity-causing bacteria. If plaque is not removed regularly it can harden into tartar. Plaque is easily removed by brushing your teeth twice daily with fluoridated toothpaste, and flossing between your teeth. However, once the plaque calcifies (hardens into tartar or calculus), it can only be removed via a professional dental cleaning. If you don’t brush your teeth or attend your biannual dental cleanings, this bacterial tartar can cause your gums to become red, sore, and begin to bleed. Eventually your gums will loosen up and begin to recede or separate from your teeth creating periodontal pockets. These pockets can collect more bacteria and food debris and result in inflammation and infection, or periodontal disease.
How to Treat Gum Disease
If you think you may already have the symptoms of gum disease which include tender, red, swollen gums, bleeding gums, receding gums, and tooth loss, your dentist can treat it via a scaling and root planing. This is a deep cleaning that goes beneath your gum line. Plaque, tartar, and other debris are removed using a manual or ultrasonic scaler. Planing is the smoothing of the tooth root to make it harder for bacteria to adhere.