Healthy Gums Guide
It may surprise you to learn that research shows around one in two adults over the age of 30 in the US has some form of gum disease.i While the condition is extremely common, failing to spot and treat the causes of gum disease early can put you at risk of developing severe gum disease, known as periodontitis – the leading cause of tooth loss for adults.ii, iv It could also jeopardize your health in general, as severe gum disease has been associated with other diseases, such as heart disease and stroke.iii
Are Your Gums Healthy?
Knowing what healthy gums look and feel like will help you keep your gums in good shape, and stay on the lookout for any early signs of gum disease.
What Healthy Gums Look Like
Healthy gums are pink, firm to the touch and don’t bleed.v Unhealthy gums are typically red, swollen, bleed easily during brushing and flossing, and may start pulling away from your teeth.iv It may be helpful to compare your gums with pictures of healthy gums and unhealthy gums to get an idea of what sort of condition yours may be in – but your dentist is the best person to speak to for an official gum disease diagnosis.
Symptoms of Gum Disease
When your gums bleed this is a warning sign that you may have gum disease. Plaque build-up on your teeth can causes your gums to become red, swollen and prone to bleeding. If caught in its early stages – known as gingivitis – gum disease can be prevented by twice daily brushing and flossing.iv You should also see your dentist to check the problem hasn’t created further complications. Bad breath can also be symptomatic of unhealthy gums.iv
What Causes Unhealthy Gums?
In most cases, ineffective dental hygiene is at the root of gum problems. If plaque – a sticky, transparent film of bacteria that coats the teeth – is not effectively brushed, flossed and rinsed away it can lead to irritation, inflammation and bleeding gums.iv
Smoking increases your risk of gum disease twofold, while poor nutrition, some medical conditions (including diabetes or cardiovascular disease), a family history of periodontitis, obesity and stress can all be risk factors for developing gum disease.vi, vii Certain medications can also affect your oral health and may contribute to your risk of gum disease.vii
How to Get Healthy Gums
Brushing, flossing and seeing the dentist regularly is the care package you need to help prevent and reverse early stage gum disease.iv, viii
Brush twice daily with a gum-healthy fluoride toothpaste such as parodontax Complete Protection that kills and removes plaque with brushing. Floss every day to remove any plaque and food that is beyond the reach of your toothbrush. Don’t forget to brush your tongue, as it can also harbor odor-causing bacteria.viii
Keeping Your Gums Healthy
Regular dental appointments are key to identifying early gum disease symptoms.iv The quicker problems are identified, the easier it can be to resolve gum disease at home by brushing and flossing.
Eating a gum-friendly diet packed with plenty of calcium, fibre-rich fruits and vegetables and foods containing vitamin C (such as bell peppers, broccoli, brussels sprouts, oranges and strawberries) will help keep your gums and teeth clean and healthy.ix, x
Drink plenty of fluoridated water – nature’s own mouthwash – which helps swish away harmful plaque bacteria and helps prevent tooth decay.ix, x
What a Periodontist Can Do for You
A periodontist is someone who specializes in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of periodontal disease. If you are concerned you could be developing gum disease, you may want to consult your dentist about making an appointment with a periodontist to further discuss your symptoms.
In addition to your dentist, a periodontist will be able to advise you on the best course of action for looking after your oral health.