The Importance of Taking Care of Your Gums
It goes without saying that perfect teeth make for a beautiful smile. But did you know that the foundation of a stunning set of pearly whites actually goes much deeper? In reality, it’s more gums than teeth that form the framework of your oral health. Not only do they hold your teeth in place — they also create a barrier against bacteria and may have life-saving benefits for your overall health.
At Sensational Smiles, we’re here to do more than straighten your teeth. We’re here to take care of your total smile health. And as orthodontists in Naperville, Shorewood and beyond, we believe that the key to a truly beautiful smile starts with healthy gums. In this post, we’ll cover:
- The function of your gums
- How to take care of your gums
- How orthodontic treatment can improve your gum and overall health
What Do the Gums Do, Anyway?
When it comes to smiles, the teeth get all the glory when the gums are the ones doing most of the work. But what exactly do they do? The soft tissue of the gums creates a tight seal around the teeth, securing them strongly in place and blocking out harmful disease-causing bacteria. When healthy, the gums are pink in color. If they become red, inflamed or bleed easily, it’s likely due to excess plaque build-up or the beginning stages of periodontitis (or gum disease).
Gum disease, like gingivitis or periodontitis, occurs when the gums are not cared for properly. And when the gums are neglected, bacteria can sneak through to the deeper periodontal tissues. The outcome? Advancing periodontal disease, weakening framework for the teeth which increases tooth loss, and the potential development of more serious degenerative diseases, such as diabetes, dementia, heart disease, or complications during pregnancy. This is why it’s absolutely critical to prioritize your gum health.
How to Improve Gum Health
Now that you know the function of the gums and why gum health is so important, let’s look at what you can do to take care of your gums. Spoiler alert: it’s incredibly simple! Just follow basic oral hygiene practices to keep gingivitis and periodontitis at bay. Here’s how to improve gum health:
- Brush Your Gums Twice Daily: You should already be brushing your teeth twice every day — once in the morning and once before bed — but it’s just as important to brush your gums during every brushing session. Be sure to brush your tongue, too, as it can be an additional source of harmful bacteria.
- Floss Once a Day: Flossing isn’t just about removing plaque from your tooth surfaces — it’s also a powerful way to keep your gums healthy and strong. Floss at least once a day, getting in between every set of teeth all the way up to the gums, to remove disease-causing build-up.
- Choose a Healthy Diet: It’s no secret that sugary, processed foods are bad for your oral (and overall) health. Instead, opt for a diet rich in whole foods, like vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, whole grains and fish.
- Don’t Smoke: Smokers have a significantly increased risk of periodontitis — up to six times more likely than non-smokers. Avoid smoking, and other tobacco products like chewing tobacco, to improve your gum health and your health overall.
How Does Orthodontic Treatment Support Your Overall Health?
There’s a common misconception that orthodontic treatment like Invisalign is purely about straightening your teeth. In reality, the benefits of Invisalign go much further, from improving your gum health to reducing your risk of more life-threatening conditions.
Crooked teeth have many more nooks and crannies where bacteria can hide and, because of that, they’re more difficult to keep clean. But when you straighten your teeth with Invisalign, you improve your bite and the way your teeth sit in your gums, making it much easier to floss and brush effectively. As a result, you’ll benefit from reduced plaque and bacteria build-up, and an improvement in your total mouth health.
Additionally, as we’ve mentioned, healthy gums may help to prevent a host of health issues. Studies show that by improving your gum health habits, you may reduce your risk of the following conditions:
- Heart disease
- Bacterial pneumonia
- Infertility and/or premature birth in pregnant people
- Chronic respiratory disease
- Mental health conditions
So if you’ve ever thought that getting a straighter smile was just about aesthetics, think again. Improving your teeth is beneficial in many aspects of your life. The good news, though, is that you don’t have to choose between better health or your dream smile. At Sensational Smiles, we give you the best of both worlds: a beautiful, straight smile you’ll be proud to show off and healthy gums to support your oral health for life. Contact us today to book your consultation.