All about Gums Health
Why Gum Health is important?
Despite being an important aspect of overall wellness, the condition of our teeth and gums is many times disregarded. While maintaining a clean, bright smile maybe one’s top priority, the condition of our gums can affect much more than just our teeth and without proper oral hygiene, unwanted bacteria can lead to oral infections, such as tooth decay and gum disease.In actuality, the structure and operation of our mouths as well as our general health depend greatly on the health of our gums. Healthy gums are crucial to preserving optimum wellness because they not only stop tooth decay and gum issues but also lessen the risk of the development of any infection inside the body.
The Anatomy of Gums
One can prevent oral health problems like gum disease and tooth decay by taking care of gums. The soft tissue that envelops and shields the tooth roots is the gingiva, called gums which act as a physical barrier between our teeth and the body, assisting in limiting the entry of microbial pathogens and other elements into the bloodstream.
Gum anatomy is intricate and has many layers
- The epithelium is one such outermost thin layer that protects the outer region around the gum area.
- Just below the thin layer, the nourishment and the support for the gums are done by the connective tissue.
- Finally, the alveolar bone which acts as a layer as well as a part of the jawbone, is found at the deepest level and responsible for strong growth of the teeth.
- Within the gums, several important structures help to keep our teeth healthy and strong.
- These include the periodontal ligament, the cementum, and the gingival sulcus.
What are the common gum diseases ?
Types of Gum Diseases
Gum diseases primarily come in two forms:
- Plaque accumulation on the gums and teeth causes gingivitis, the less severe type of gum disease. Gums that are red, swollen, and tender as well as bleeding when brushing or flossing are signs of gingivitis.
- Periodontitis, a more serious form of gum disease, emerges from untreated gingivitis. Periodontitis is characterized by the gums pulling away from the teeth, resulting in bacterially contaminated pockets. Gum recession, ongoing bad breath, loose teeth, and changes in the bite are all signs of periodontitis.
There are also other, less common types of gum diseases, such as
- Necrotizing periodontal diseases
- Aggressive periodontitis
- Chronic periodontitis.
Causes of gum diseases
The main cause of gum disease is plaque, a film of bacteria that has accumulated on the teeth. Plaque can take different forms like tarter and can be serious if no treatment is taken.This is one such factor, other causes that can contribute to gum disease include:
Improper Oral Health
- People who skip flossing or leave certain regions of mouth while brushing, can cause a buildup of plaque which is a major cause of various gum diseases.
Medications and Drugs
- Saliva plays a major role in protecting the gum and teeth from the acid produced by bacteria in the mouth, by washing off food particles, but some medicated drugs may dry the mouth, indicating a reduction in saliva generation which further cause plaque buildup, leading to gum diseases.
- Smoking is bad for oral health since it weakens the immune system and makes it hard for the body to fight off mouth infections, which can cause gum diseases or can even cause gum cancer.
- Diabetic patients who have high blood sugar levels are more prone to develop gum diseases since it makes the gum’s blood vessels more susceptible to infections.
- In children who are entering puberty, or women who have reached the menopause stage, such hormonal changes during this period affect the gum region. In children, there’s an increase in blood flow to the gums which makes them more prone to inflammation, while in women, hormonal changes dry the mouth.
- In some cases, even after following proper oral hygiene one may develop oral diseases, which can be due to Genetic Predisposition.
Symptoms of gum diseases
Some common symptoms of gum disease are:
- Red, swollen, or tender gums: The early signs of gum disease include redness and tenderness in the gum regions. This is painful to touch and may appear inflamed and swollen.
- Bleeding gums: After eating or drinking, one may observe bleeding of gums, or sometimes during brushing or flossing, which is one such of gum disease.
- Receding gums: The layers that protect the gum and tooth region may start to recede which makes the teeth look longer than usual, and exposes the roots of the teeth, which can also cause tooth sensitivity.
- Persistent bad breath: When the mouth is not cleaned properly, the bacteria present in the mouth start to grow rapidly, and this excessive build-up of bacteria produces bad breath also known as halitosis, which is a symptom of gum disease.
- Formation of pus: Pus may form in the spaces between the teeth and gums, indicating a serious gum infection.
What necessary treatment must be taken for gum diseases?
The common treatments for gum disease include
- Professional cleaning is the very first step for treating gum disease and involves a dental hygienist, who will remove plaque and tartar from the teeth and gums.
- Scaling and root planning is a deep cleaning technique that clears plaque and tartar from beneath the gum line and smoothens the teeth’s roots to help stop further accumulation.
- Antibiotics like Metronidazole, Clindamycin may be prescribed to eradicate gum disease-causing bacteria.
- In more severe gum disease cases, surgery may be necessary to restore the gums and the tissues around them.
- The procedure that removes infected gum tissue and encourages the growth of healthy tissue is called laser therapy. It removes the infected region, as well as clean and disinfect the gum pockets where bacteria can grow.
Tips for maintaining healthy gums
One can maintain healthy gums by adhering to a few recommendations. They consist of:
- Plaque can be removed and gum disease can be avoided by using fluoride toothpaste to brush your teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush, twice a day.
Floss every day
- Consider flossing because it can aid in removing plaque from areas that a toothbrush cannot clean. It is advised to use waxed floss.
- Gum disease can be avoided by using an antimicrobial mouthwash to help destroy bacterial germs.
Stop smoking and substance intake
- Smoking is the common cause for a person to develop gingivitis, and one needs to quit smoking to avoid it, along with also avoiding intake of harmful substances like nicotine, and tobacco which can severely affect oral and overall health.
Chew sugarless gum
- Saliva neutralizes the acid and washes away bacteria. When a person finds the mouth dry, drinking water or chewing sugarless gum can help which will increase the production of saliva.
Clean dentures every day
- Plaque can quickly accumulate on dentures, enhancing the likelihood of gum disease around your real teeth. Therefore, regular cleaning is essential.
How are gum health and overall health related?
Gum health is related to general health in some way. The body’s overall health can be significantly impacted by the condition of your gums. The relation is as follows:
- Gum disease and heart disease have been linked in studies. It is believed that the inflammation brought on by gum disease may cause heart disease, since the bacteria causing gum disease may enter the bloodstream, reaching the important part of the body’s heart.
- Gum disease can promote the growth of bacteria in the mouth, which can cause respiratory issues when inhaled into the lungs.
- Women who are expecting, and having gum diseases are more prone to developing complications like preterm birth and low birth weight.
- People who have gum disease are more likely to have rheumatoid arthritis since the bacteria trigger the autoimmune response in people, which aggravates the condition.
What Foods and nutrients promote gums health ?
Following is a detailed list of foods and nutrients that support gum health:
- Eating Vitamin rich food: Eating Vitamin C-rich fruits like strawberries, oranges, kiwis, etc. will help to strengthen the connective tissue, which is a part of the gum layer.
- Calcium: The jawbone, which supports the teeth and makes them strong, depends on the essential mineral called calcium which is found in almonds, leafy greens, and dairy products like milk, yogurt, etc.
- Omega-3 fatty acids: These beneficial fats have anti-inflammatory qualities that may help lessen gum inflammation. Walnuts, flaxseeds, fish oils, and fatty fish are sources of omega-3s.
- Green tea: A drink that is good for overall health and also reduces the risk of gum diseases, is green tea. It is rich in antioxidants, which help to lessen gum inflammation.
Professional care for gums
What to anticipate from a professional gum care appointment, is as follows:
- Physical Examination: The dental hygienist will take an assessment of gum health, looking for symptoms like inflammation, swelling, or recession in gums.
- Instruction for oral health: The dentist may offer suggestions and advice to improve at-home oral hygiene practices, including proper brushing using medicated toothbrush and toothpaste, and may also recommend to floss daily, accompanied with the use of antiseptic or fluoride mouthwash based on the condition one is.
- Treatment for gum disease: The dentist may advise additional treatment, such as antibiotic treatment or surgery, or laser therapy if they discover any severe signs of gum disease.
- Follow-up visits: The dentist may advise more frequent follow-up visits to check on your gum health and ensure that any gum disease is under control, depending on the condition of your gums.
Common myths and misconceptions about gums health
There are several widespread myths and misunderstandings about gum health that may encourage bad oral hygiene habits. The following are some of the most widespread lies about gum health:
- Myth: Cleaner gums can be achieved by brushing your teeth more vigorously, Fact is, Overly vigorous brushing can harm your gums and cause them to recede. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and softly, circular strokes to brush your teeth.
- Myth: If you brush your teeth frequently, flossing is unnecessary, Fact is, Removing plaque and other debris from between your teeth and along your gum line requires flossing.
- Myth: Only older people are at risk for gum disease, Fact is, Unrelated to age, anyone can develop gum disease. In actuality, the early stages of gum disease can manifest in adolescence and childhood.
- Myth: Mouthwash can replace brushing and flossing for healthy gums, Fact is, While mouthwash can supplement brushing and flossing, it cannot completely replace them. It’s crucial to follow instructions and combine mouthwash use with other oral hygiene measures.
- If the right precautions are taken, the prognosis for gum health is generally positive.
- The majority of gum diseases can be avoided by practicing good oral hygiene, which includes brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and scheduling routine cleanings and checkups with the dentist so that dental hygienist can remove bacteria-harboring plaque and spot the first signs of gum disease.
- Gum diseases, however, can advance and seriously harm the gums and teeth if left untreated.
- Gum diseases can be prevented from causing more harm and the prognosis can be improved by early detection and treatment.
- Gum health can also be influenced by eating a balanced diet with enough nutrients and avoiding bad habits like smoking.
- Most people can maintain healthy gums for the duration of their lives with the right care and attention.