Dental care steps to maintain healthy teeth and gums goes way beyond simply maintaining a pretty smile. Proper dental care also helps to maintain health. The dangers of unhealthy teeth and gums are not to be underestimated.
Signs and symptoms of unhealthy teeth and gums
Left unresolved, poor gum health can lead to gingivitis, or infection of the gum surface. Gingivitis is an early type of gum disease. It is typically a precursor to periodontitis. Early signs of gingivitis can include tender or swollen looking gums that might bleed when you brush your teeth.
Periodontitis is another name for periodontal disease. The condition causes the gums to pull away from the teeth and can affect not only the roots of teeth but also the bones of your upper and lower jaw – the maxilla and mandible. The bone structure of the jaw is designed to hold the roots of your teeth in place. Common symptoms of periodontitis can include inflammation or swollen gums which cause discomfort while brushing, and bad breath.
Other symptoms of periodontitis can include but are not limited to:
- Difficulty or pain when chewing
- Sensitive teeth
- Sores on the inside of the mouth
- Receding gum lines
- Tooth loss
Damaged gums and teeth can lead to infections, which in turn contribute to painful abscesses, tooth decay, and discomfort.
Steps to maintain the teeth and gums
Taking a number of dental care steps to maintain healthy teeth and gums requires maintaining habits. For example:
- Brushing and flossing teeth every day, which aids in the removal of dental tartar and prevents plaque from building up.
- Eating a balanced diet. The type of foods you eat and how often you eat them also have an influence on dental health. We’ve all heard about the dangers of eating too many sweets or sugars, as they cause cavities. Bacteria that lives in the mouth actively feeds on sugars found in a variety of sweet and other foods, and releases acids that not only can eventually result in cavities, but eat away at tooth enamel.
- Use fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride aids in bone formation, which includes the teeth, and helps to make teeth resistant to decay.
- Schedule routine visits with your dentist. General recommendations are to schedule dental visits twice a year, but that depends on the condition of your teeth, age, dental hygiene, and certain health conditions that can affect dental health, such as diabetes or any form of heart disease.
Treatment for periodontitis will depend on the severity of your mouth health. In some cases deep cleaning that involves tooth scaling and root planning is recommended, and effectively scrapes off tartar and plaque that has built up above and below the gum line. This procedure can be costly, so preventive care is recommended.
Take steps to maintain healthy teeth and gums through regularly scheduled cleanings with your dental health care provider. If you are in the Bay area, Scott Prawat, DDS is a Los Gatos Dentist to check out For optimal dental health, pay as much attention to your teeth and gums as you do other aspects of your health and wellness regimens.