Why is Gum Health Important?
Many people associate dentists with teeth. While your dentist is certainly concerned about the health, function, and appearance of your teeth, they are also concerned with the health of your gums as well. In fact, there are even dental specialists known as periodontists that focus exclusively on gums. After all, the health of your gums matters more than you would think.
For starters, gum disease is one of the most common dental problems in the United States. Over half of Americans have gum disease and may not even know it. There are two forms of gum disease: gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is the mild form of gum disease that can generally be reversed with treatment and good oral hygiene. Periodontitis, on the other hand, is the advanced form of gum disease that cannot be reversed and can only be managed to prevent it from getting worse.
When it comes to taking care of your gums, you will want to brush and floss regularly to remove the excess plaque and bacteria that are responsible for causing gum disease. Not only does good oral hygiene help your teeth, but it is also beneficial for your gums. As mentioned before, the health of your gums is more important than you would think. Here are just a few reasons why gum health is important:
Prevents Tooth Sensitivity
When gum disease occurs, this causes an inflammatory response that results in gum recession. This exposes the tooth roots, which have little to no protective layer. This allows stimuli to enter the tooth and cause tooth sensitivity, or pain that is experienced while consuming anything hot, cold, or with sugar.
Makes or Breaks Your Smile
The appearance of your gums are just as important as the appearance of your teeth when it comes to the look of your smile. Gums that are affected by gum disease are often red, swollen, or bleeding, which is not at all attractive. Furthermore, gum recession can make your teeth look larger than usual or unevenly sized. Healthy gums, on the other hand, frame your teeth evenly with a light pink appearance.
Preserves Bone Mass
In addition to causing gum recession, advanced gum disease, known as periodontitis, can cause a loss of bone mass in and around the tooth socket and jawbone. This can ultimately lead to teeth becoming loose, falling out, or needing to be extracted.
Reduces Bad Breath
Halitosis, or bad breath, is caused by excess bacteria or even fungi in the mouth. Excess bacteria can collect along the gum line, in between teeth, and on the tongue. When bacteria becomes trapped in the mouth, this ultimately results in a foul odor.
Supports Dental Restorations
In order to have a dental restoration placed and for it to look and function properly, gum health is essential. Certain restorations like crowns and bridges rely on gum tissue to cover the junction between restoration and natural tooth, while other restorations like dental implants can actually fail as a result of gum disease.
Affects Your Overall Health
Your gum health has also been found to have a direct correlation with your overall health. Research conducted by the Centers for DIsease Control and Prevention and the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research have found that gum disease is associated with health conditions such as: diabetes, heart disease, stroke, lung disease, and pregnancy complications.
As you can see, the health of your gums is very important for a number of reasons. This is why gum disease can be potentially damaging to just more than your gums. Considering gum disease can affect so many factors, it is important to prevent gum disease by practicing proper oral hygiene. After all, the health of your gums is important to your oral and overall health.
Dr. Deborah Tabb graduated in the upper 5% of her class, from the Medical College of Virginia in 1982, where she was honored to receive advanced awards for outstanding performance in endodontics, periodontics, and oral surgery. These prestigious awards validated her clinical talent, which she is recognized for today. She is a member of the American Dental Association, the Southern Maryland Dental Society, the Academy of General Dentistry and the Potomac Valley Dental Study Club.