Get and Keep A Lifelong Healthy Smile
Your smile says a lot about you, not simply that you are confident or vivacious. Your smile can be a window to your overall health. Healthy gums support healthy teeth. If you have neglected to care for your gums and teeth, you may experience swollen, bleeding, even receding gums or loose teeth. Bad breath, or an unpleasant taste in your mouth may also plague you. All of these things can be a sign of gum disease.
Your To-Do List for a healthy smile
- Don’t miss regular check-ups. An integral component of getting and maintaining healthy gums (the key to a lifelong healthy smile) is keeping plaque from accumulating on your teeth. The sticky film, plaque, is produced when sugars and starches in food are metabolized by bacteria within the mouth. Plaque builds up between teeth and below the gumline around teeth. Eventually plaque causes inflammation and swelling. Left alone this will result in a deterioration of the bone and structures that hold teeth in place. Evidence suggests that gum disease may share a link with increased likelihood of systemic disease such as diabetes and heart disease.
- Brush and Floss your teeth. Brushing and flossing remove food debris that bacteria use to thrive in the mouth. Fighting plaque is a constant battle as it starts to reaccumulate just hours after brushing. Brushing, including the tongue twice a day and flossing one time a day helps keep food particles from building up in the mouth. While flossing has been met with some recent controversy, experts say that flossing once a day difinitively removes particles between teeth and below gums that would otherwise feed plaque causing bacteria. Beware that smoking or chewing tobacco, stress, poor nutrition, substance abuse, diabetes, hormonal fluctuations, and certain medications can add to the risk of gum disease developing.
- Drink and eat wisely. Water consumption adds to saliva. Slippery saliva helps keep bacteria and food from sticking to teeth. Eating whole, unprocessed foods–apples, salads, berries, pears, nuts, carrots, celery, for example–also help fortify and scrub teeth clean. Other foods like onion, cheese, and yogurt have other positive attributes from inhibiting halitosis causing bacteria, to contributing to remineralizing enamel.
Gum disease has several stages, all of which gradually break down and steal a healthy smile
The mildest stage of gum disease, gingivitis, results from poor or inconsistent oral hygiene. Gingivitis is a treatable and reversible form of gum disease. Gingivitis occurs when plaque accumulates and hardens over time. The chronic inflammation and bacterial process eventually break down and damage surrounding soft tissues. In order to properly treat gingivitis your dentist will clean the affected areas and remove plaque, depending on how significant the deposits of plaque are this stage could potentially be uncomfortable.
If left untreated, gingivitis can lead to periodontitis. Periodontitis, a more serious condition in which the bacteria in the mouth trigger a systemic immune response. The entire immune system kicks in to try and fight the substantial bacteria load inside the mouth. This progressive disease process can lead to damage jaw bone and connective tissue around the teeth.
Protect you healthy smile with daily maintenance and regular check-ups. You will be rewarded for your consistent efforts.