At Bronitsky Family Dental, we make it our goal to keep patients educated on the importance of enjoying healthy gums. In addition to having your teeth cleaned, each visit to see your family dentist in Aloha involves an examination of your gums to determine whether they remain healthy and disease-free. You might wonder why all of the trouble? Why does the health of my gums really matter? Well let’s take a look.
The Importance of Healthy Gums
While many people judge the health of a smile by how brilliantly bright the smile, gum health actually plays a far bigger role when determining the actual state of an individual’s oral health.
Think of your gums like the foundation of a house. Even when the walls and roof of a home appear solid and in good shape, the overall structure of a home depends on everything sitting on a solid foundation. Should that foundation begin to deteriorate or crumble, it’s only a matter of time before the rest falls down.
Gum disease ranks as the far biggest threat to enjoying a healthy foundation for your smile. A chronic infection, gum disease starts with the inflammation of gum tissue. Early stage gum disease – called gingivitis – causes gum tissue to become swollen, tender, inflamed and to bleed.
If gum disease remains untreated, it can progress into the far more serious periodontitis. When this occurs, the disease begins to attack the underlying tissue and bone structure that holds our teeth into position. Over time, our teeth become loose and begin to shift, before eventually falling out.
While a number of different factors – such as genetics, underlying health conditions like diabetes and age – all contribute to the development of gum disease, plaque ranks as the biggest contributing factor.
A sticky biofilm, plaque consists of harmful oral bacteria and the food particles that remain in the mouth after eating. Plaque uses the sugars found in the foods and beverages we consume to produce a harmful acid that slowly attacks our tooth enamel and gum tissue. When plaque deposits buildup on our teeth it causes enamel to become thinner and gum tissue to become inflamed. You may more commonly know these conditions as cavities and gum disease.
Fortunately, you can help to reduce plaque buildup and keep your gums healthy by following the three simple steps.
Three Steps Towards Better Oral Health
Improving and maintaining your oral health requires making a serious commitment to practicing quality oral hygiene. This includes:
Brushing Twice a Day, and Brush Correctly
Ever since childhood we’ve heard about the importance of brushing, but correctly brushing takes more effort than many of us might think.
According to the American Dental Association, we should brush at least twice a day – ideally once in the morning after breakfast and again right before heading off to bed – for two minutes each time. However, despite this recommendation, studies have found that the average American brushes for a total of 30 seconds a day. That’s just a quarter of the recommended time it takes to properly clean your teeth. Imagine the results you’d get spending only 30 seconds shaving, combing your hair or applying makeup.
Our teeth feature a lot of crevices and hard to reach areas that need adequate cleaning. Not taking the time to properly brush allows plaque to buildup in the areas we miss, which increases our risk for developing tooth decay and gum disease.
Protecting your oral health starts by taking the time to properly brush each day.
Flossing plays an important role in helping to protect our oral health by removing plaque from areas of our mouth a toothbrush cannot reach, such as between our teeth and below the gum line. However, this is another important habit that many Americans simply skip.
According to the ADA, up to 20 percent of American never floss. By not flossing, you’re effectively skip cleaning around 33 percent of your teeth. That’s a lot of space for plaque to build up and start to cause some serious problems.
If you don’t think that flossing really matter, consider this – The most common place for cavities to develop in the mouth is actually between our teeth. So don’t skimp on the flossing if you want to maintain the health of your smile.
Schedule Regular Exams and Cleanings
Regular dental exams provides Dr. Bronitsky the opportunity to spot the signs of dental decay and disease early on while still easy to treat. Frequent dental cleanings offer a chance for our gentle dental hygienists to remove plaque deposits from the surface of your teeth and along the gum line before they can cause decay and gum inflammation. Dr. Bronitsky recommends that patients schedule a dental exam and cleaning once every six months. However, depending on the current state of your oral health, more frequent visits may be necessary.
That’s it! By practicing these three simple steps, you can significantly lower your risk for dental disease and the chronic health conditions frequently associated with poor oral health.