When most of us think about oral health, we think mainly about our teeth and the problems they can encounter — like cavities, cracks, or fractures. But our gums need care, too. In fact, without healthy gums, our teeth lose the support they need to stay healthy and beautiful.
At Compassionate Endodontists New York/NYC, our team helps New York City patients keep their gums healthy and sound with custom treatment plans focused on each person’s unique needs. Professional treatment is important for gum health — but so is home care. Here are four things you can do to help your gums stay healthy.
1. Stop smoking
Most people know smoking causes bad breath and dramatically increases your risk of oral cancer. But did you know it can significantly increase your risk of gum disease, too?
Chemicals in tobacco smoke increase inflammation, one of the factors associated with gum disease. They also damage your blood vessels, interfering with circulation and preventing your gum tissue from receiving the oxygen and nutrients it needs to maintain good health.
Gum disease isn’t “just” about red, swollen, or bleeding gums (although these are all symptoms). It’s also a leading cause of tooth loss, and it can lead to infections in your jaw bones, too. Gum disease has also been linked with increased risks for diabetes, heart disease, respiratory diseases, Alzhemier’s disease, and some cancers.
2. Practice good oral hygiene
Brushing and flossing play important roles in preventing cavities, and they keep your gums healthy, too. Both brushing and flossing help get rid of sticky plaque deposits along the gum line. These deposits harbor bacteria that can cause gum disease and cavities.
By brushing twice a day and flossing at least once, you can dramatically improve your oral health without taking too much time or effort. Having dental checkups and professional cleanings twice a year is also essential for identifying gum problems early and for getting rid of plaque and tartar you’ve missed with your at-home oral hygiene routine.
3. Know your risks for gum disease
Gum disease can happen to anyone at any age, but it’s also associated with risk factors that can make you even more prone to gum problems. Those risk factors include:
- Older age
- Poor nutrition, including eating lots of sweets
- Grinding or clenching habits
- Certain medicines
- Chronic stress
Knowing your own personal risk factors can help you understand your odds of getting gum disease and other gum issues.
This is a big reason why it’s so important to keep your health profile updated when you come in for your checkups. Sharing your risk factors with our team enables us to map out a treatment plan aimed at reducing those risks.
4. Don’t skip dental checkups
It’s safe to say that pretty much no one actually looks forward to visiting their dentist. But regular dental checkups play an essential role in keeping your gums healthy (and preventing other oral health problems, too).
Not only will your visit give us time to look for — and treat — gum issues in their earliest stages, but a professional cleaning will rid your mouth of plaque and tartar, making your at-home routine even more effective. If we see signs of gum disease, our team will provide you with treatment recommendations, along with advice on what you can do to prevent more serious stages of gum disease.
Don’t ignore gum symptoms
Red, swollen, tender, or bleeding gums are all signs of a problem that needs prompt attention. To learn what’s causing your gum symptoms and how we can help, call 929-229-0255 or book an appointment online at Compassionate Endodontists New York/ NYC today.