What I Wish Everyone Knew About Gingivitis
Gingivitis isn’t just a matter of oral health.
How often do you floss your teeth? If you’re like the majority of Americans, the answer is that you don’t floss regularly—in fact, a third of American adults don’t floss at all. When you don’t floss regularly, you may notice some bleeding when you brush your teeth or start flossing, but is this really a big deal? After all, it tends to be minor, doesn’t hurt, and usually isn’t a problem when you leave your gums alone. This may make you wonder how important flossing really is, especially if you ask around and discover that it’s pretty common for people to skip flossing. Just because it’s common, however, doesn’t mean it’s normal or healthy. Gum health is often overlooked, but it’s just as important for your oral and overall health as it is to keep your teeth cavity-free. To help you understand why flossing is so important, here are a few facts we wish everyone knew about gingivitis.
Bleeding gums are important.
They may not seem like a big deal on the surface, but bleeding gums are a massive warning sign of gum disease like gingivitis and periodontitis. Essentially, gum disease is an infection of your gums caused by oral bacteria. When it isn’t treated, it can worsen to the point that it causes permanent damage to your gums and can even lead to tooth loss. Unfortunately, it’s easy to overlook or dismiss many symptoms of gum disease because it’s often painless. Bleeding gums, which are caused by oral bacteria attacking and irritating your gums, are one of the most easily recognizable symptoms. This makes it essential to pay attention when you notice your gums bleeding.
Flossing isn’t optional.
While many Americans skip flossing their teeth, it’s not an optional part of your oral hygiene routine that functions like extra credit for your dental health. It’s an essential part of any daily at-home dental care routine. Your toothbrush does a good job cleaning the surfaces of your teeth, but its bristles can’t reach all the nooks, crannies, and curves in your mouth. More specifically, they can’t clean between your teeth or thoroughly remove plaque from along your gum line. When you skip flossing, you’re not cleaning entire sections of your teeth. As a result, plaque sits along your gum line for extended periods of time, attacking your gum tissue. Flossing is the only way to remove plaque from along your gum line and between your teeth effectively, so it’s vital to include it in your daily routine.
Diet impacts your oral health.
What you eat doesn’t just impact your overall health—it impacts your oral health, too. Sugary and carbohydrate-rich foods tend to stick to your teeth and provide plenty of fuel for oral bacteria. Healthy foods, however, are a great source of essential vitamins and minerals that help your entire body, including your teeth and gums, stay healthy. It’s best to eat a healthy, balanced diet with appropriate daily servings of lean protein, dairy, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Crunchy fruits and vegetables are especially good for your oral health because they scrape plaque from your teeth as you eat, helping to prevent tooth decay and gum disease.
Even how often you eat can impact your oral health. If you’re eating multiple little snacks throughout the day, the bacteria in your mouth get constant fuel and the acidity level in your mouth doesn’t have as much of a chance to recover between meals. This increases your risk of suffering from oral health issues. As a result, eating one larger, healthy snack in the middle of the day instead of multiple unhealthy ones can make a huge difference in your long-term oral health.
Regular checkups can make all the difference when it comes to gingivitis.
Visiting Dr. Staley every six months can make a huge difference in your oral health, especially when it comes to gingivitis. Since the signs of gum disease are so easy to miss at home, having your gum health evaluated regularly by Dr. Staley helps ensure that he will catch any issues early. This can prevent your teeth and gums from suffering long-term consequences of gum disease. These regular checkups also actively help prevent gingivitis by removing hardened tartar from your teeth and offering you an accessible source of advice. Dr. Staley can answer all of your questions about your oral hygiene routine and provide advice about how to prevent gingivitis and tooth decay.
Periodontal disease raises your risk for other health problems.
Periodontal disease doesn’t just begin and end at gums that bleed a little when you floss or brush your teeth. In fact, it doesn’t even end at tooth loss. When it’s left untreated, severe periodontitis can lead to an increased risk of a number of major health issues. How is this possible? When bacteria make it underneath your gum line, they also make it into your bloodstream—spreading throughout your body and causing widespread chronic inflammation as part of your immune response. Among other things, these risks include infections in other areas of your body, high blood pressure, an increased risk of pregnant women giving birth to premature or low-birthweight babies, and an increased risk of heart disease or stroke. This makes gum disease a major health concern that can impact your overall health in serious—sometimes permanent—ways, even to the point of shortening your lifespan. As a result, preventing and treating gingivitis is a vital part of keeping yourself healthy in both the short- and long-term.
While a little bit of blood in the sink after you brush your teeth might not seem like a big deal, it can have lasting effects on your life. Thankfully, all it takes to prevent gingivitis is flossing daily, an activity that only adds a minute or two to your daily oral hygiene routine. When you compare the daily time commitment to the results of improved health and a longer lifespan, it’s clear that the small investment is worth it in both the short- and long-term. If you’re looking to get started with a “dentist near me,” feel free to call our office and schedule an appointment at any time.