Proper Dental Care To Get Your Gums in Shape

Few of us are Olympic athletes. The “average” American physique may vary from seriously flabby to modestly trim. The fitness of our mouth is on a similar spectrum, and few can claim perfect dental health. The Academy of General Dentistry estimates that 80 percent of all American adults have some degree of gum disease. Proper dental care can help improve the health of your gums, as well as your teeth.

There are two primary forms of gum disease, gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is a mild inflammation of the gums; if you have it, your gums will be red and sensitive and may bleed easily.

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A culprit in the development of both diseases is plaque, a sticky, colorless “film” made up of bacteria, mucus, and other particles. Plaque that is not removed by regular brushing and flossing can harden into tartar, which adheres to our teeth and requires a dentist or dental hygienist to remove.

Dr. Carol Ford, a cosmetic dentist practicing in central Phoenix, says that professional dental care is crucial to preventing gum disease and minimizing its impact when it occurs.

“Once a dental pocket reaches a certain depth, all the brushing in the world is not going to heal it,” she said.

While we may not be able to reverse the impact of gum disease entirely on our own, we can follow a fitness regimen for our mouth:

  • Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
  • Floss regularly to remove plaque between teeth.
  • Don’t smoke.
  • Adjust your diet  to improve gum health  – consider eating milk, cheeses and nuts (which provide calcium and phosphorus needed to remineralize teeth) and firm-crunchy fruits such as apples or pears (whose high water content helps stimulate the flow of saliva), and drinking water and other beverages that do not contain sugar.
  • Visit your dentist routinely for cleanings and check-ups.

“When considering the health of your gums, think of your dentist as your personal trainer,” Dr. Ford said. “It’s important to work with your dental care team to repair the damage gum disease can cause.”

 

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