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Let’s Talk About Healthy Gums, and How to Keep Them

Gum disease is no joke, and it’s time to talk about healthy gums and why they’re so important. Here’s what you need to know to stay healthy.

Did you know that having healthy gums is just as important as having a bright white smile? In fact, probably more so.

Our gums have the very important job of protecting and supporting our teeth. If not properly cared for, gums can become inflamed and diseased, and our teeth will eventually loosen and fall out. And this is more common than you may think.

Periodontitis – the advanced form of gum disease – affects half of Americans aged 30 or over. That’s about 64.7 million Americans! After the age of 65, this figure increases to a staggering 70%.

Recognizing the Early Signs

The early signs of gum disease can be easy to miss or seem unimportant. Your gums may become slightly swollen and red, and sometimes bleed when you brush your teeth. Before you know it, you’ll notice that your gums are starting to recede, and gaps are starting to appear between your teeth. Worse still, your teeth might start loosening.

Gum disease is caused by plaque, that sticky deposit that builds up on your teeth after eating and drinking. With proper dental hygiene, the majority of that plaque will be removed. However, without proper cleaning, the plaque will start to accumulate under and along the gum line.

The bacteria in the plaque will start to eat away at the gums, causing gum infection, inflammation, and bleeding, not to mention increasingly bad breath!

Improved Oral Hygiene for Healthy Gums

There are many stages of gum disease, starting with gingivitis and advancing to periodontitis. The good news is, it is reversible if you catch it early enough. With improved oral hygiene and professional dental treatment, you will see results.

Despite being such a serious dental problem, gum disease can be avoided by following a few simple steps and eating the right diet. So get into the habit of brushing your teeth twice a day, and flossing at least once, to remove food, plaque, and bacteria.

It is recommended that you use a soft-bristled toothbrush or an electric toothbrush so that you can clean thoroughly in-between your teeth and around your gums.

Visit your Dentist

However, even with regular brushing and flossing, plaque and tartar will still start to build up and irritate your gums. The solution is easy: simply visit your dentist twice a year, for a check-up and clean.

The American Dental Association also recommends using fluoride toothpaste and a therapeutic mouthwash, to reduce bacteria and better prevent the build up of plaque.

Some people are more prone to gum disease than others. These include diabetics, pregnant women, and those with a family history of gum disease. It can also affect those suffering extreme stress, and people who grind or clench their teeth.

It’s Time to Quit

The CDC warns that smokers are at far greater risk of developing gum disease. Smoking weakens your immune system, making it harder to resist gum disease. It also makes it much harder for your gums to heal.

Diet plays a very important role in dental care. What we eat and drink can affect whether we develop cavities or gum disease, and how long we keep our teeth. Dentists recommend eating a balanced diet, with minimal amounts of sugary or acidic foods.

One of the worst offenders is fizzy drinks, with research revealing that in 2014, 43.8 gallons of soft drink was consumed per capita!

Choosing a Healthy Diet

So we know what NOT to eat and drink, but what do dentists in Riverside, California recommend as a healthy diet?

Basically, we need to consume foods which carry out a variety of tasks, from strengthening our immune system to building strong teeth. For example, we’ve all heard the one about ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’ – well, it seems it can keep your teeth healthy, too!

Munching an apple activates a cleansing action in your mouth, helping get rid of plaque. But you should give your mouth a good rinse afterward, to reduce that acidity.

Essential Vitamins and Minerals for Healthy Gums

Calcium plays a very important role in our health, helping develop strong bones and teeth. A delicious way of getting your daily intake of calcium is through eating and drinking dairy products. Drinking milk can also help neutralize acids.

We know leafy greens are good for our bodies because they are nutritional powerhouses, packed with vitamins and minerals. And the healthier we are, the better we can fight bacteria and infection. However, chewing on leafy greens is also brilliant for our teeth. Chewing releases extra saliva, which again neutralizes those acids.

Try and include ‘healing herbs’ in your diet, like ginger, which is an excellent anti-inflammatory. Wheatgrass draws out toxins, and cloves are anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial. Onions are also fantastic for fighting bacteria and what’s more, you’ll be sure to brush well afterward!

Choosing a Dental Clinic

Of course, while this all sounds wonderful in theory, putting it into practice takes some effort – but it’s surely worth it? Let’s be honest, nobody really likes going to the dentist (or the doctor, for that matter) but, if we want to stay healthy, vibrant and attractive, it really is a must.

When looking for a dentist, there are some very important points you should consider. Ideally, you will choose one within 5 to 10 miles of your home, for convenience, and for easier access in an emergency.

Ask questions about the dentists’ license and registration, their qualifications, training and specialist areas.

Ask Questions about Healthy Gums

Look for a dental surgery where you feel comfortable, both physically, and in your dealings with the dental team. Does the surgery look clean and modern? Are they using state-of-the-art equipment? Are they up to date with the latest methods and procedures?

And what about cost? Are they comparable with other clinics? Do they have payment plans, and take insurance? Ideally, you want the answers to all these questions to be ‘yes’!

Whether you wish to ‘get in early’ and avoid the onset of gum disease – or you are already showing the signs and want to turn back time – it’s time to take action. So get out there and find a dentist who is committed to healthy gums and makes you smile!