Why Gum Health Matters

Why Gum Health Matters

Although having healthy and beautiful teeth are a large part of having a gorgeous smile, they are not the only thing you need to pay attention to. The health and appearance of your gums are just as important to the overall look of your smile, as well as your overall oral health. In fact, the health of your gums can directly affect your teeth in more ways than one. 

Unfortunately, gum disease is a common problem that many dentists routinely see in their patients. There are two different forms of gum disease that can occur. The mild form of gum disease is known as gingivitis and the advanced form of gum disease is known as periodontitis. If caught in time, gingivitis can usually be treated and reversed. Once the disease has progressed to periodontitis, however, it cannot be cured and can only be managed to prevent it from getting worse. 

Taking care of your gums is similar to taking care of your teeth. Just like tooth decay is caused by excess bacteria that accumulate in plaque, gum disease is also caused by the same bacteria. Therefore, reducing plaque accumulation by regular brushing, flossing, and dental cleanings can help keep your gums healthy. Here are a few reasons why gum health matters: 

Supports Dental Restorations

gum recession exposing dental restoration

Just as your gums help to provide support to your teeth, they also provide support to dental restorations. Restorations like crowns, bridges and veneers are placed over natural teeth and rely on gum tissue to cover the border between the tooth and restoration. This creates a more natural appearance and reduces the risk of restoration failure. Additionally, restorations like dental implants have even been known to fail because of gum disease.

Prevents Bad Breath

Halitosis, or bad breath, is a foul, unpleasant odor that is caused by the buildup of bacteria in the mouth. One of the most common places for bacteria to accumulate is along the gum line, however bacteria can also accumulate in between teeth and on the tongue. 

Makes or Breaks Your Smile

Your teeth are not the only thing people see when you speak, smile, or laugh. Your gums are almost equally important to the look of your smile as your teeth are. Consider the fact that healthy gums are a light pink color that contours and accentuates your teeth, while gums infected with gum disease are usually dark red, swollen, and bleeding. Gums with gum disease also recede, which can make your teeth look uneven in size, as well as excessively large. Overall when it comes to visual aesthetics, healthy gums are the way to go.  

Prevents Sensitivity

woman holding an ice cream cone with a pained expression

Tooth sensitivity occurs when stimuli are able to enter the tooth and irritate the nerve. Gum disease causes the gums to recede, or pull away from the teeth. As the gums recede, more and more of the tooth’s roots are exposed. Since tooth roots do not have the same protective layer as the crown, stimuli are able to enter the tooth and cause sensitivity to hot, cold, and sweet foods and beverages.

Preserves Bone Mass

One unfortunate consequence of advanced gum disease is bone loss in the jaw, which generally starts in tooth sockets. As the bone in tooth sockets deteriorates, teeth can become loose, fall out, or need to be extracted. By preventing advanced gum disease, you are taking an important step to save your teeth. 

Affects Your Overall Health

Gum disease in particular has been associated with a variety of medical conditions that occur outside the mouth in various other parts of the body. It is believed that this can occur as a result of excess bacteria entering the bloodstream to travel to other parts of the body. Some of the most prominent medical conditions associated with gum disease are stroke, heart disease, diabetes, pregnancy complications, and lung problems. 

Photo of Dr. Admar

Dr. Admar holds dual certificates — a Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) in 2010 from India and a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) in 2014 from Canada. He is now a full time practicing dentist in Kamloops where he provides a variety of services. Dr. Admar spends hundreds of hours in continued dental education to stay up to date in cosmetic and implant dentistry and he has achieved several advanced qualifications.

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