A healthy mouth is a gateway to a healthy body.
How have we been looking after our gum? We often care for our teeth, not knowing the gums are as important as the teeth. What can we do to improve the oral hygiene of our gums? In reality, we are always in a hurry to meet the day-to-day schedules that we forget to pay attention to our gum. The gum is like a foundation where each tooth sits. Without the gums, there will be no teeth!
The gums are made up of soft tissues; they surround the lower part of the tooth crown. A healthy gum should be pink and not puffy. When gums become affected by infections, they become unhealthy, and over time the tooth will fall out. Bacteria build-up around the teeth, starting from the plaque. Plaque is a white sticky film that accumulates around the teeth. If not continuously removed by tooth brushing and flossing can cause tooth decay and gum disease.
Gum disease is when the gum becomes red and puffy. Bleeds when brushing and flossing. Over time, gum disease can cause gums to pull away from the teeth and eventually can lead to more severe infection. It can be managed by your dental team at an early stage to avoid leading to tooth loss.
Let’s talk about the mouth!
The mouth is a passage to the entire body. For our bodies to be healthy and robust, we need to eat and drink. Anything that affects the mouth affects us physically, psychologically, and emotionally. When we have a toothache, we feel a lot of pain, and this brings our life to hold at that moment. We want to live in a pain-free world and live our lives as usual.
Here are tips on how to maintain healthy gums:-
- Brush twice daily with toothpaste suitable to maintain healthy gums and teeth.
- Do not rinse after brushing, that will make the toothpaste ineffective on the teeth.
- Flossing regularly between the teeth and the gum line can remove the plaque build-up.
- Using mouth wash at different interval during the day, especially after lunch, can remove food debris and reduce the formation of bacteria in the mouth.
- If your gums bleed while brushing or flossing, don’t stop. It is an indication to do more.
- Change your toothbrush every three months or when you notice the bristles are falling off. You can replace it earlier.
- Avoid using a lot of products at the same time. E.g., only brush in the morning and leave mouthwash for use after lunch.
- Regular visits to your dental team for check-ups and professional cleaning will help identify any abnormalities early and tackle it before it gets worse.
- Avoid poking in between your teeth with unhygienic tools such as metal wires; this can introduce bacteria into the mouth. Use recommended dental aids from your dental team.
- Always examine your gums in front of the mirror for any changes. If you notice any changes in the colour or texture of the gums, seek advice from the experts.
- Avoid sugary foods, if possible, keep them to mealtimes only.
Researches and surveys show that some groups are more at risk of developing gum disease. They are older people, pregnant women, those who have diabetes, people who suffer from stress, smokers, and people who wear partial dentures.
How can I know if I have gum disease?
Gum disease is an infection of the gums or tissues supporting the teeth, it is caused by bacteria plaque accumulation on the teeth and surrounding tissues. If not removed by effective tooth brushing or dental scaling, can lead to chronic gum disease called periodontitis.
There are symptoms to look out for:-
- Red gums, rather than healthy pink colour
- Puffy or swollen gums
- Bad breath
- Bleeding gums; when you are brushing teeth or flossing.
- Sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures in the mouth, the gum might have receded.
If we can do all these, we will have healthy gums and live our regular lives, smiling with confidence! We can only win if we are persistent with our daily oral hygiene routine. It is not always easy to do, especially with a hectic day, but with determination and hard work, we will achieve.
“No one can take our smiles away when dental decay is kept miles away” – Prof. Dr. Ninad Moon.