Not taking care of your overall health and your teeth and gums can cause an overgrowth of harmful bacteria, which may lead to serious health problems beyond the mouth, in addition to the threat of losing your teeth. Fortunately, living a healthy lifestyle and regularly scheduling preventive treatments can help you keep the harmful bacteria under control. Here are a few tips on how to keep good oral health:
Maintain Healthy Gum Tissue
Gum tissue, or gingiva, are part of the soft tissue lining of the mouth. This surrounds the teeth and provides a seal around them. Healthy gum tissue tightly binds to the underlying bone which helps resist the friction of food passing over them. When healthy, gums present an effective barrier to the deeper tissue.
People with gingivitis have inflamed gum tissue around their teeth, caused by bacteria found in dental plaque. Normal, healthy gums should be firmly attached to the teeth and underlying bone. If you have gingivitis, your gums are inflamed, red, and swollen. They will bleed easily and may be tender. Mild gingivitis causes little pain and may be overlooked. If left unchecked, however, it can become severe. In some people, gingivitis progresses to periodontitis, which can lead to tooth loss.
Learn about Periodontitis
Estimates show that approximately 35.7 million Americans currently have the bacterial infection of the gums known as periodontitis. Periodontal disease is an infection of the tissue that supports your teeth. It attacks just below the gum line, where it causes the attachment of the tooth and its supporting tissues to break down.
- Pain in the mouth
- Gums bleed when brushing
- Spaces develop between teeth
- Swollen and tender gums
- Receding gums (exposing the bottom of your teeth)
- Persistent bad breath
- Pus between teeth and gums
- Sores develop
- Tobacco use
- Systemic diseases
- Use of certain types of medicine
- Bridges that no longer fit
- Crooked teeth
- Fillings that have become defective
- Oral cancer