Most people pay little attention to the health of their gums. If the teeth look attractive and aren’t causing any pain, many people assume their oral health is in good shape. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Gum disease is a common oral health problem, and it is one that often does not result in noticeable side effects until the condition has become advanced.
At his dental practice, Dr. Edward Narcisi offers restorative dentistry treatments to rebuild a smile that has been compromised by poor gum health. Dr. Narcisi also discusses the most common causes of poor gum health with his Pittsburgh, PA patients, and offers dental care tips that will allow them to preserve the strength and health of the gums (and, ultimately, the smile) moving forward.
What Causes Poor Gum Health?
The health of the gums suffers for many of the same reasons that the health of the teeth may suffer. As bacteria, plaque, and tartar build up around the teeth, they affect the gums as well. Bacteria can get into gum tissues and cause swelling and infection. The gums will react by receding, or pulling away from the teeth, which eventually compromises the stability of the teeth and can even lead to tooth loss. The most common causes of the bacteria buildup that leads to poor gum health includes:
- Neglectful oral hygiene habits: The gums require care and attention. If patients neglect to brush and floss the teeth regularly, the health of the teeth and gums will suffer.
- Incorrect oral hygiene habits: Brushing and flossing should be daily habits, but a patient won’t reap the full benefits of these oral hygiene habits if they aren’t doing them correctly. Many patients fail to brush all surfaces of the teeth, and often ignore the base of the teeth near the gum line. This allows bacteria to thrive beneath the gum tissues, which compromises the health of the gums.
- Neglect of professional dental care: Professional dental care is also vital to the preservation of gum health. Dental cleanings can reach areas of the mouth that are often ignored by a toothbrush and floss. Patients should make professional dental care a regular part of their oral hygiene routine.
In addition to the direct causes of poor gum health, there are several factors that are known to increase the risk of gum disease. Patients with any of the following risk factors should be especially attentive to the health of their gums:
- Family history of gum disease
- Heart disease
- Use of cigarettes or other tobacco products
- The use of certain medications, including contraceptives, some antidepressants, and some heart medications
- Uncontrolled diabetes
Preserving Gum Health
Even if a patient has an increased risk for gum disease, there are steps he or she can take to protect gum health. The following practices can greatly reduce the risk of gum disease, and ensure that any problems that do pop up are treated before they become too serious:
- Schedule dental exams and cleanings at least twice a year
- Schedule any recommended dental follow-up care
- Brush at least twice a day
- Floss nightly
- Stay hydrated
- Refrain from smoking
- Avoid foods that are especially high in sugars, acids, or starches
Dr. Edward Narcisi offers a comprehensive range of dental services that are beneficial to the teeth and gums. If you are concerned about the health of your smile and would like to learn how these services can help, contact us at your earliest convenience.