In our previous post, we shared some tips for preventing gum disease.

Today, we want to discuss some reason this is important — not the least of which is saving your smile. Gum disease, also called periodontal disease, is the leading cause of lost teeth in the United States. If for no other reason, please protect your healthy gums for the sake of your smile.

You already know what you should be doing to help prevent this, including regular dental cleanings like we offer at First Dental Associates. But we want to take some time today to explain the role your gums play in your oral health (and even your overall health).

This is also a good time to encourage you to make an appointment for your next dental visit if you haven’t already. You can contact our dentist office in Reading, MA, by filling out our online form or by calling [phone].


Healthy Gums And Healthy Smiles

If you want to keep your smile looking its best, then you need to care for your gums, too. Healthy gums feel firm when you touch them, and they have a pink color.

At the most basic level, your gum tissue helps to protect the roots of your teeth.

Where the crowns of your teeth are covered in enamel (the hardest substance on the human body), the outer layer of your roots are covered with cementum. This offers some resistance to bacteria, but cementum is not as tough as enamel. Your gums provide an added layer of defense by covering your roots.

Your gums also help to keep them where they should be. Just as healthy gums feel firm, they also are rest firmly against your jawbones. This pressure helps your teeth stay in place.

If your gums become infected, your gum tissues can begin to recede or pull away from your teeth. This weakens their hold on your teeth, and your teeth can begin to feel loose.

At the same time, receding gums can expose the roots of your teeth to bacteria, which is a bad place for plaque and tartar to build. This can lead to infected teeth, which may require a root canal or in some cases tooth removal.

But just as your receding gums can expose your roots, they also can leave your jawbone vulnerable to bacteria. If left untreated, the combination of weakened bone tissue and receding gums can allow teeth to fall out completely.


Your Gums And Other Health Issues

Losing your teeth could leave your feeling like you don’t want to smile. We understand that, but gum disease can have consequences for your overall health, too.

One of the biggest concerns is the connection between your gums and your heart. Multiple studies have shown that people with gum disease are more likely to have heart disease as well.

Gum disease develops as a result of bacterial infections. If it goes untreated, that bacteria can get into your bloodstream and can spread to your heart.

But heart disease isn’t the only health concern for people with untreated gum disease. People with diabetes have an increased risk for gum disease, and coincidentally, gum disease may have an affect on blood sugar levels. Still other studies have found that people with infected gums may have a greater risk of dementia, some forms of arthritis, and premature birth, too.


How You Can Fight Gum Disease

As we mentioned earlier, gum disease is caused by bacteria. While you can’t remove all of these bacteria, you can keep them under control through a balanced diet and good oral health habits. Let’s review what you should do.

Brushing your teeth twice daily, for two minutes each time, with a fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush will remove much of the plaque and bacteria on your teeth.

You also need to clean between your teeth and below your gumline. This is why you should floss or use another interdental cleaning tool every day. This is how your remove bacteria, plaque, and food particles from those places.

Last, but not least, you should have regular dental cleanings and exams, such as we offer at First Dental Associates. A professional cleaning will remove plaque and tartar that you may have missed. It also helps us find gum disease early when it is easier to treat.

We want you to keep smiling, which is why we encourage everyone to take care of their gums, too.

If you feel you might have gum disease or you just want to prevent it, please contact our dentist office in Reading, MA, to schedule your next appointment soon. You can reach us online or call [phone].