Your 2022 Guide To Healthier Gums (With 7 bonus tips)

Excerpt: Taking care of your teeth is incredibly important, but if you're only focusing on your teeth your definitely missing out...
Table of Contents

Taking care of your teeth is incredibly important, but if you’re only focusing on your teeth your definitely missing out. Our gums play a huge role in our oral health, they can also be a huge health concern if you don’t take care of your gums.

Gingivitis and periodontitis

There is bacteria in your mouth that produces plaque, if enough plaque builds up on your teeth it can cause gingivitis, and if left untreated, it can cause periodontitis. Plaque is a sticky film-like substance that can eventually turn into tartar (also known as calculus). Plaque, unlike tartar, can be removed at home, tartar is a hard substance that can only be removed by a professional with proper training.

Gingivitis

Plaque and tartar can both be causes of gingivitis, some of the symptoms of gingivitis include gums that are prone to:
 
  • Inflammation
  • Tenderness
  • Redness
  • Swelling/puffiness
  • Bleeding
  • Receding
 
Your mouth may also experience:
 
  • Bad breath (halitosis)
  • An unexplained bad taste
 
These are the first warning signs that gingivitis is an issue, if the patient is observant, they can often notice these issues and adjust their oral care routine to avoid anything to serious from happening.

Periodontitis

If oral care is not taken seriously, gingivitis may eventually turn into periodontitis, this is incredibly serious as it cannot be reversed simply by having better oral care. Periodontitis occurs when plaque and tartar is built up enough so that it accumulates underneath the gum line. This will cause the gums to be recessed and pushed away from the teeth. If left untreated, the oral structures in your mouth will become unstable and compromised eventually causing loss of teeth and further infection.

Summary

  • Gingivitis – Early stage of gum disease, can be reversible at home.
  • Periodontitis – Late stage of gum disease, will need a dentist or a specialist to reverse it.
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Teeth scaling and root plaining

If your plaque does turn into tartar, all is not lost. A dentist may eventually recommend you a “deep clean”, this involves teeth scaling and root plaining:
 
  • Teeth Scaling – Tartar is scraped off the teeth by professional hygienists or dentists.
  • Root Plaining – Tartar is removed from beneath the gums and they are smoothed out back onto the teeth. 
 
If the periodontitis has become very advanced, it may be too difficult for a general dentist to deal with, if this is the case, you will be referred to a specialist (known as a periodontist). A periodontist specializes in gum health and will be more focused on dealing specifically with gum health.
 
Focusing on having better oral habits will save you lots of extra trips to the dentist and will keep your teeth healthy and happy.

7 Bonus Tips For Healthy Gums

Since gingivitis is one of the more easily diagnosable oral inflictions, lots can be done to prevent it from worsening into periodontitis. Here are a few things you can try if you notice any of the previously mentioned symptoms:

Flossing

Not nearly enough patients floss, and even less floss as often as they should. Many people seem to assume that if your brushing is done well, then flossing isn’t important, or they may only floss if something is stuck between your teeth. Flossing, however, is equally as important as brushing, especially for gums. Since your gums are soft, food particles may get stuck in them without you even being aware of their presence. Flossing will ensure a much more effective clean than just brushing, and it should be done at least as much as brushing.

Brushing your gums and tongue

You should be brushing your teeth at least twice a day. You should also finish by brushing your gums and tongue softly. You can get film buildup on your tongue and gums which may also cause you to experience bad breath. If you don’t brush your gums and tongue, now would be a great time to start.

Mouthwash

Mouthwash is also generally an underutilized tool in your oral care kits. Mouthwash can easily get between your gums and teeth, it may even get to places you might have missed. While it probably won’t remove any major food particles, it will clean minor discrepancies, and it can also make your breath smell great!

Water pick

This is more of a “nice-to-have” tool in your oral care kit. Water picks are great for washing in between your teeth. We recommend mixing in mouthwash to the water reservoir so you get that added bonus.

Get dental checkups every 6 months

Gum disease typically will progress over a period of time. If you are going to your regular dental checkups every 6 months then your dentist can inform you of any signs or symptoms of gum disease. Your dentist will also be able to inform you of any areas of your mouth that may be lacking attention. Even if you have great oral care, you may have trouble cleaning your back molars and the gums could become infected.

Try Specialty Products

There are products out there designed for specific purposes. For example, you can try fluoride products. These products have extra fluoride in them which will be absorbed and utilized by your body. This is especially useful if you live in an error where the local government doesn’t have fluoride in the drinking water, or if you only ever drink bottled water. 

Be more consistent

“Intensity makes for a great story, consistency gets results.” That is a great quote to remember when practicing almost anything in regards to health. The human body takes lots of time for your effort to manifest into the desired results. Flossing every other week won’t do nearly as good as flossing every day. If your gums are inflicted with gingivitis, it’s probably just a result of not being attentive to your routine.

Gum health – Outlook

Healthy gums can make or break a smile. Red, swollen, receding gums can be very noticeable by your peers and can be an issue you’re self-conscious of. Not to mention the bad breath and the bleeding that can go along with it. If you keep track of what your doing and make sure to do it all on a regular basis, your experience with gingivitis should be kept to a minimal.

Frequently asked questions

Other issues can also cause your gums to be in discomfort. You may have an infection, or an abscess, or something else that is hidden out of sight. Definitely make an appointment.

You should probably get a new toothbrush every 2-3 months at the most. The bristles do loose their integrity with age and use.

A root canal only removes the pulp and inner parts of the tooth. The outside enamel and gums will still need to be cleaned.

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