Swollen, sensitive gums could be something as small as a benign scratch or food lodged between your teeth. Or it could be a symptom of gum disease. Gum disease is a progression of plaque build-up in your mouth that can eventually cause damage to your teeth and gums. Without proper treatment, gum disease causes tooth loss, infections, receding gums, and potentially bone loss.
When you brush your teeth, you are removing food particles and bacteria called plaque from your mouth. The plaque will build on the outer surface of your teeth, and it will release an acid that will begin to slowly eat away at your enamel. The build-up of plaque will also irritate your gums, which will cause them to become red or swollen. Healthy gums should be pink and spongy.
If care is not taken to begin reversing the damage, your gums will begin to bleed. Then the plaque may harden into tartar. Tartar is solidified plaque that makes it extremely difficult to clean your teeth properly without a professional cleaning.
As it progresses, gum disease will cause the gums to pull away from the teeth. Once the gums recede, more plaque can build up in the spaces and pockets will start to form. The damage will begin to move below the gum line and into the jaw.
There are restorative procedures that can reverse many of the effects of gum disease, but the best way to fight gum disease is with prevention. It is better to avoid gum disease altogether.
What Are the Prevention Techniques?
A thorough daily oral care routine is one of the most effective ways to avoid gum disease. Each day, you should brush your teeth for at least two minutes with a soft-bristled toothbrush.
Along with brushing, you should floss your teeth at least once daily. Consider using mouthwash to get any food particles that are left behind. One significant tip is to change your toothbrush about every three months. The bristles will become frayed and less efficient to clean your teeth.
While your daily dental routine is very important, you should visit your dentist at least twice a year for professional dental cleanings and exams. Your dentist will be able to tell you if your routine is sufficient enough to keep your teeth and gums clean. Along with your cleaning, your dentist will take x-rays of your teeth and make sure that you won’t have any unexpected problems.
Certain activities and additions to your diet can put you at risk of developing gum disease. Smoking is known to increase your chances of developing gum disease. The tobacco not only stains your teeth and causes bad breath. It can also make it difficult for your gums to heal after small cuts, dental procedures, and surgeries, which can leave you vulnerable to infections.
Also, food and drinks with high sugar contents, including alcohol, can also increase your likelihood of gum disease. The bacteria in your mouth consume sugar and leave behind the destructive acid that destroys your teeth and gums.