When most people think of a healthy mouth, the first thing that comes to mind is their teeth.
This is understandable. After all, your teeth are the first thing that people see when you smile or open your mouth. You use your teeth to eat, and the condition of your teeth reflects your overall health.
But if you focus too much on your teeth, then you may be neglecting your gums, which are just as important to your overall oral health.
The dentists and staff at Antoine Dental Center in Houston want you to have a healthy mouth. While we can, will, and do provide gum disease treatment, we would much prefer if you never needed this service.
To help in your preventive efforts, we want to share eight facts about your gums that we think everyone should know.
◆ Fact 1: Gums Are Living Tissue
You may realize this without ever really thinking about it. Gums, also known as gingiva, are soft tissue that cover the bones that hold your teeth in place.
Your gums also are vital to keep your teeth where they should be.
◆ Fact 2: Your Gums Should Not Bleed
Bleeding gums are one of the warning signs that you have gum disease, also known as periodontal disease.
If you have mild gum disease, then your gums may bleed when you are flossing or brushing your teeth. If you have periodontitis, an advanced form of gum disease, then your gums may bleed at other times, such as when you are eating hard foods.
◆ Fact 3: Flossing Is Important For Healthy Gums
Dentist want their patients to brush their teeth twice every day and to floss daily.
When you brush with a fluoride toothpaste, you remove a lot of the bacteria that live inside your mouth. These are the bacteria that build plaque and can cause tooth decay and gum disease.
Brushing will not remove all the bacteria from your mouth however. You cannot reach the spaces between your teeth or between your teeth and gums unless you use dental floss or another interdental device to clean these hard to reach places.
◆ Fact 4: How You Floss Is Also Important
The American Dental Association created a video to demonstrate proper flossing technique.
You should break off about 18 inches of dental floss. Wrap the ends around your middle fingers. Hold a small portion of the floss between your index fingers and thumbs.
Work the floss between your teeth and behind the teeth in the back of your mouth. You want to “hug” the floss around your teeth to clean the sides and to get underneath your gumline.
If flossing is too difficult or uncomfortable, consider using a different interdental device. Ask the staff at Antoine Dental Center if you would like to know about other options.
◆ Fact 5: You May Have Gum Disease
The American Dental Hygienists Association estimates that 80 percent of Americans will have at least mild gum disease at any time. The Centers for Disease Control conducted a study and found that nearly half (47.2 percent) of adults 30 and older have periodontitis.
◆ Fact 6: Bleeding Is Just One Symptom Of Gum Disease
Bleeding gums are a common indicator that you have gum disease, but it’s not the only sign. Other symptoms include:
- Tender gums
- Swollen or red gums
- Persistent bad breath
- Gum recession (when your gums pull away from your teeth)
- A change in your bite or change in how your dentures fit
- Loose teeth
- Bone and tooth loss
◆ Fact 7: Visit The Dentist If You Suspect You May Have Gum Disease
You want to treat gum disease as soon as possible. Often you can reverse mild gum disease by improving your oral hygiene routine.
With advanced gum disease, you will need professional help, which is why Antoine Dental Center provides gum disease treatment. Some problems can be treated with a deep cleaning technique called scaling and root planing. More serious problems may require gum surgery.
◆ Fact 8: Prevention Is The Best Approach
To keep your gums and the rest of your mouth healthy, preventive care remains the best approach. This means brushing twice every day, flossing every day, and visiting Antoine Dental Center at least twice a year for routine cleanings and examinations.
Not only will we remove any plaque that you may have missed, we will monitor the health of your gums as part of our general dentistry practice.
To make your next appointment, call our dentist office in Houston at 713-364-8990 or fill out our online form.