You may not think about your gum health too much when you’re considering how to keep a healthy smile — but overlooking your periodontal (gum) tissue can have serious effects on your oral health. Pink gums denote good health, and red, inflamed, and bleeding tissue indicates gum disease and the need for some professional help.
There are 5 steps to positive periodontal health: oral hygiene, lifestyle choices, diet, hydration, and regular visits to your dentist in Copperas Cove.
#1: Good Oral Hygiene
The most important thing you can do for your periodontal health is to brush and floss your teeth regularly. When the bacteria that is naturally present in your mouth combines with the acids from the sugars in what you eat, a destructive biofilm collects on the surface of your teeth and around the gums. If not removed through good brushing and flossing practices, gum disease is likely to occur as a result. Gum disease causes bad breath and gum recession, which can eventually result in tooth loss if it is not treated.
#2: Positive Lifestyle Choices
Certain choices you make on a daily basis can also affect your periodontal health. Smoking and tobacco use, for example, dramatically increase a person’s risk for developing periodontal disease. Talk to your dentist or doctor if you are ready to quit smoking but are unsure how to go about it or have tried and been unsuccessful in the past.
What you eat plays a big role in your periodontal health. Adding citrus fruits to your diet, for example, can boost collagen production and improve your gums’ ability to fight infection and repair tissue as needed. Eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and nuts also naturally scrubs away biofilm for better oral health (not to mention fresher breath). Maintaining a balanced, nutritious diet is as important for your oral health as it is for your overall well-being.
Drinking plenty of water throughout the day naturally washes away the acids and bacteria that negatively affect periodontal health. Many people are not adequately hydrated on a regular basis — and dry mouth is a common side effect of certain medications. Chewing sugar free gum and sipping extra water can help your mouth stay hydrated and healthy.
#5: Visits to the Dentist
Routine cleanings and exams at the dentist’s office are important for preventive gum disease. When caught early, the beginning stages of gum disease can easily be reversed with improved oral hygiene at home and additional visits to the dentist. Most people should visit the dentist every six months for routine preventive care.
Now that you know a little bit about how to keep your gums healthy (and why you should), it’s time to get started! You and your healthy, lasting smile will thank you for it later.
About the Authors
Dr. Patrick O’Malley and Dr. “Doc” Edmondson are general dentists in Copperas Cove, TX offering comprehensive dental services for patients of all ages. To learn more about maintaining positive oral health and hygiene or to schedule an appointment, you are invited to contact the office at 254-547-4866.