Keeping your teeth and gums healthy not only makes it easier for you to eat, it is also important for your overall health. Though you may not realize, gum disease can lead to other serious health problems including heart disease and dementia. But if you don’t have dental insurance, putting off regular visits to the dentist is easy to do unless you have a dental emergency. Here’s some advice for taking care of your teeth and gums and when it’s time to go to the dentist.
Watch Out For Gum Disease
If your pearly whites are looking a little gray, and your gums are very red, you may be suffering from periodontal disease. When bacterial plaque builds up on your teeth, over time it will result in inflamed and bleeding gums and tooth decay. Plaque is constantly forming on your teeth as you eat and drink substances containing starches or sugars. The bacteria gradually release acids. Because plaque is sticky, it holds the acid against your teeth. In time this will attack the enamel and cause tooth decay.
Plaque build-up can also cause gingivitis. Signs of gingivitis are sore and swollen gums that bleed when you eat or brush your teeth. If gingivitis is left untreated, it will develop into gum disease. When this happens, your gums will begin to draw away from your teeth causing pockets which trap more bacteria, allowing it to eat away at the underlying bone that supports your teeth.
Gum Disease and Heart Disease
Numerous studies have linked periodontal disease and heart disease. If you suffer from gum disease, you are at a higher risk of heart attacks, strokes, and other heart disorders.
Gum Disease and Diabetes
Having diabetes puts you at a higher risk of gum disease that people who don’t suffer from diabetes, even if your diabetes is under control. It is thought that inflammation is to blame.
Taking Care of your Teeth
If you care for your teeth and gums properly, they will stay healthy throughout your life and you will have less chance of developing gum disease and tooth decay. Think about what type of toothbrush is best for you.
Manual Toothbrushes: The traditional toothbrush does have some advantages including:
- inexpensive price
- easy to travel with
- safe and easy for children to use
- less pressure on gums and teeth
However, for people who have limited manual dexterity, such as seniors or those with disabilities, a power toothbrush is recommended for optimal teeth and gum care.
Sonic Toothbrushes: Sonic toothbrushes have a much more rapid action than regular electric toothbrushes. Most of them perform between 30,000 and 40,000 stroked per minute. They simultaneously rotate and move back and forth. This means that this toothbrush is better at removing plaque. Its fast bristle action also speeds up the production of saliva, which helps dislodge plaque surrounding the teeth where the bristles do not reach.
Maintain a Healthy Diet
If you are serious about your dental health, you should avoid eating large quantities of food containing starches and sugars, as these produce a high acid content in your mouth. The longer these acids remain in your mouth, the more damage they will cause your teeth and gums. For this reason, sucking candies can be particularly harmful because of the length of time they are in your mouth. It’s particularly important to brush your teeth following a sugary snack or after eating starchy foods such as potato chips. Foods to avoid to protect your teeth:
- Sugary chewing gum.
- Candy or toffee.
- Cookies and cakes.
- Chips, crackers or breadsticks.
Make Regular Dentist Visits
You should make regular visits to your dentist every six months. Regular check-ups and professional cleaning will ensure your teeth and gums remain healthy. You should make a visit to your dentist at any time you have any of the following symptoms:
- Pain in your teeth or jaw
- Tooth decay or cavities
- Loose teeth
- Gums that are tender or swollen
- Bleeding gums
- Gums that are receding from your teeth
- Sudden sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures
- A lingering unpleasant taste in your mouth
If you don’t have a dental healthcare plan, check out these emergency dentists who take payments.
If you have a dental emergency you should visit a dentist as soon as you can before it develops into something that could seriously affect your health.