Healthy Gums – Healthy YOU – And it starts from a young age!
When someone flashes you a gorgeous smile with shiny, white teeth, you don’t immediately think to yourself, “Wow, what beautiful gums…”
It’s the teeth that instantly capture our attention when it comes to a healthy, happy, stunning grin. But, in reality, having healthy gums is just as important – maybe even more, than having shiny, white teeth.
Gum health is an integral part of oral care as the health of your gums can play a significant role in the overall health of your body. Gum disease and gingivitis have been linked to health issues such as cardiovascular problems like heart disease and strokes. Studies have linked overall gum health to overall heart health, although experts aren’t sure exactly why this is yet, it’s important to take notice. The undeniable fact that heart attack and stroke patients tend to also have gum disease is worth making sure you keep your gums in tip top condition.
Gingivitis has also been linked to poor memory. A report in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry showed that participants with gingivitis consistently performed poorly in memory tests as opposed to participants with healthy gums. Remembering to brush and floss properly might just help you remember where you put those car keys!
Healthy gums also prevent the admittance of harmful bacteria into your blood stream. We all have bacteria in our mouths through day to day interaction with the environment, food, and other people. When gums are inflamed, in the case of gingivitis and gum disease, your body is more susceptible to infections from bacteria.
So, with all the evidence around the importance of taking care of our gums – how do we do it? How can we make sure we are protecting our gums and not harming them with excessive brushing?
Brush and floss. Brush your teeth at least twice a day, in small, tight clockwise circular motions that protect from the more vigorous side-to-side motions, which can cause long-term gum deterioration in some cases. Gently but firmly floss before bedtime and after any meals that included particularly meaty or stringy foods. If you have bridges, implants, or wide spaces between your teeth, you may want to use interdental brushes—toothpick-like apparatuses with tiny bristles at one end—to clear trapped food.
Quit Smoking. People who smoke up to a half a pack of cigarettes per day are almost three times as likely as nonsmokers to develop gum disease, and those who smoke more than a pack and a half of cigarettes per day have almost six times the risk.
Eat Well. A diet rich in vegetables and vegetable oils, fruits, legumes, nuts, and fatty fish not only provides all the essential nutrients, but it decreases inflammation. Diets that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in fish, have been shown to have a reduced risk of gum disease.
Regular dental check-ups and cleanings. Make sure you book regular check-ups and cleanings with one of our expert and friendly Oral Health Therapists at McIntosh Dental. They will remove bacteria-building plaque and will recognise the first signs of gingivitis and gum disease and support you with a treatment plan.
Get treatment at the first signs of gum disease. Swollen, bleeding gums, pockets of pus, or gums that are pulling away from your teeth, are the most dramatic signs of gum disease. For any irregularities in the appearance of your gums, any bleeding, tender spots, or reddening, make sure you come in to McIntosh Dental for a check-up and keep those gums healthy to make sure you have the best chance at a beautiful smile and a long, beautiful life.