Oral Health Spotlight: Gums
Why should teeth get all the fame? Since the beginning of time, teeth have taken center stage in the oral health arena, while their close cousins, the gums, have occupied more of a back-seat role. So we have decided to dedicate this article to gums. What makes them healthy, what makes them sick, and why they are so important for whole-body health!
Gingiva, or “gums”, are the mucosal tissue that cover the jaw and hold the teeth in place. When they are healthy and properly intact, they offer a protective barrier for the jaw and tooth roots against food, bacteria and other materials, of which there are many that enter the mouth.
Healthy gums typically are coral pink and color, and not recessed far above the tooth. They show a scalloped appearance over each tooth, and are firm and resist movement. They take brushing and flossing well, usually with no reaction whatsoever.
By contrast, unhealthy gums may exhibit red, white and even blue hues, have a puffy or orange peel texture and may bleed when brushed or flossed. Untreated periodontal disease can affect the whole body, as it is related to health problems such as diabetes and heart disease, and also can result in lost teeth and poor nutrition down the road.
Prevention is Key:
The good news is that most cases of periodontal disease are preventable. While we don’t know exactly what role genetics play in terms of periodontal health, we do know that practicing good oral health is the first step to preventing periodontal disease. Habits such as brushing twice and flossing once per day and regular exams and cleanings can help many people prevent or slow the progression of gum disease.
We hope you have learned something new about your gums!
If you have any questions about your gums or any other part of your mouth, don’t hesitate to give us a call!