When you wake up in morning, you make your way to the bathroom, grab your toothbrush and apply toothpaste. While brushing you feel a sharp pain along the side of your mouth. When you go to rinse you might notice in the sink a swirl of blood and used toothpaste. If this is you, then your gums might be trying to tell you something. There are many signs that people should be aware of when exercising good dental hygiene. Bleeding, sore, or swollen gums could mean a few different things. Let’s explore what it means to have healthy gums.
The Function of Gums
Gingiva, (gum) is the skin that keeps your teeth protected. It manages the tooth and the bone that holds the roots. The spaces between the teeth keep in close proximity to the gum for added protection. The color of the gums can vary based on a person’s complexion. Typically, gums are salmon pink, but can be closer to a brownish pink. It’s important to know that teeth are held in place with the crown and the root; teeth do not interact directly with the bone. There is a thin layer of skin known as the periodontal tissue. Between gums and the periodontal tissue these are the most important to take care of in order to maintain healthy teeth.
Warning Signs of Poor Gum Health
- Bleeding gums
- Pain around jaw, gum, or teeth
- Bad breath (halitosis)
- Cuts or abrasions on gums
It’s important to look at the above signs and contact your doctor if issues are persisting. Even bad breath is a warning sign of gum disease that shouldn’t be ignored. In fact, there are studies that suggest that certain bad breath can be a direct relation to serious illnesses like, diabetes, kidney failure, or liver failure. So, the next time you are offered a mint, make sure this isn’t a reoccurring problem.
Health Risks of Gum Disease
There are two stages of gum disease, gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is the earliest stage of gum disease. At first there might be minor bleeding of the gums, but it progresses into a more painful problem. The gums become so inflamed and irritated that it’s difficult to chew food. Teeth will become more sensitive to hot and cold sensations. Periodontitis is the more advanced stage of gum disease. There is long lasting damage that is done to the gums and teeth structure. If you do not seek immediate dental care at this stage you are subjected to your teeth coming loose from the socket in the bone. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have found that people within the ages of 35 and 44 have gum disease in the range between gingivitis and periodontitis.
How to Care for Gums
A dental office in Clearwater suggests that you are at a higher risk for gum disease when you do not floss. Flossing is something many of us are guilty of skipping because we simply “do not have time.” Whichever excuse you use to fill in the blank, it’s simple not true. Flossing once a day is definitely worth taking the time to do; you are removing plaque that is trapped between the gum and the tooth. A toothbrush does not have the ability to get in hard to reach spaces. If you have not flossed in a very long time, it is normal to see bleeding gums. When plaque is coated so heavily on the teeth it becomes difficult to break away at the build up, to the point that the gums are stressed by the irritation caused by the floss. If your teeth and gums are in serious need of attention it would be smart to have a skilled dentist use special tools to remove the plaque safely.
Food That Promotes Healthy Gums
Surprisingly, cheese is good for teeth. Cheese increases the production of the salivary glands, especially aged cheese, like cheddar and Swiss. Any fruits and vegetables that have water are great for the mouth such as, watermelon, cantaloupe, celery, or cucumber. If you have children, make sure not to leave bottles with juice or milk in the crib. Kids will fall asleep with bottles in their mouth and it’s even worse when they are teething. It would be better to keep water in sippy cups so that if the child fell asleep with that in their mouth there wouldn’t be sugar to erode at their baby teeth and gums.