Even though their teeth are what most people are concerned about when they go to the dentist, in reality it is their gums that hold the key to how the health of their teeth. After all, regardless of how sparkling and white your teeth are, if your gums are not healthy, you could experience tooth decay that could eventually lead to the loss of your pearly whites. To help prevent this from occurring, be sure to implement the following three tips that will lead you to better gum health.
- Know the Risks
Everyone’s risk of gum disease, also known as gingivitis, is different. Many people immediately think that poor hygiene habits such as not brushing twice a day or not flossing regularly will lead to gum disease. This is not necessarily true, though. If things were that simple as far as preventing gum disease, dentists would not see so many incidences of it. The following also increase your risk for developing gum disease:
- Many people who have gum disease have parents and siblings who also struggle with it.
- Chronic conditions, such as diabetes, HIV or cancer, can make a person more likely to develop gum disease – partially due to the fact that these diseases affect the immune system.
- Prescription medications can sometimes have unwanted side effects that increase your chances for gum disease. For example, some medications decrease the amount of saliva in your mouth while others can cause gum tissue to grow abnormally.
- Unhealthy habits such as smoking, drinking and doing drugs can make it more difficult for the body to repair itself. As a result, gum tissue might not be able to replenish itself as quickly as it needs to.
- Know the Symptoms
Although the signs of gum disease can be subtle, it is possible to catch the condition before it gets too far out of hand if you know what to look for. While some of the below symptoms could be familiar, you might be surprised to learn about a few of them.
- Receding gums
- loose teeth
- changes in how your dentures feel or fit
- bad taste in your mouth
- changes in how your teeth feel or fit together when you bite down
- bad breath that just will not go away
- deep pockets that form between gums and teeth
- teeth that shift around
- bleeding gums while or after you brush
- tender, red or swollen gums
- Visit Your Dental Professional
If you have any of the potential risks of developing gum disease or if you notice any of the above symptoms, you owe it to yourself to make an appointment with a dental professional as soon as possible. Your dentist will perform a thorough assessment of the condition of your teeth, mouth and gums to determine the extent of any gum disease. The good news is that, with the right dental care, many cases of gum disease can be halted and its effects can sometimes be reversed.