Prevent inflamed gums through good oral hygiene
With good oral hygiene you keep your teeth, molars and gums healthy. You thereby prevent inflamed gums (gingivitis and periodontitis) and you promote their healing. But how do you know if your gums are healthy? And can you recognize inflamed gums?
Healthy gums are pink, tight around teeth and molars and do not bleed when you eat or brush your teeth. Healthy gums are the basis of healthy teeth. The gums together with the jaw bone and the fibers are the foundation of your teeth. Those who keep their gums healthy can enjoy their own teeth for years.
Inflamed gums (gingivitis)
Bleeding, red or swollen gums usually indicate inflamed gums. Your gums can be inflamed anywhere. But the inflammation can also be local, for example between 2 teeth or molars. Inflamed gums sometimes go hand in hand with a bad taste or bad breath. It rarely hurts, but the gums can be sensitive if you touch it. You will notice this when brushing your teeth, using toothpicks, brushes or floss. Sometimes your gums are inflamed, but there is nothing to see. Fortunately, your dental hygienist or dentist can determine the inflammation. Timely treatment of inflamed gums can preserve your teeth.
What is the cause of inflamed gums?
Dental plaque on the transition from your gums to your tooth or molar and the plaque that is between your teeth causes inflamed gums. If you do not remove the plaque properly, the bacteria in the plaque will cause your gums to become inflamed. Non-removed plaque can become hard and turn into tartar. New dental plaque easily adheres to tartar. This causes the gums to become increasingly inflamed. Dental plaque is hard to see. A dental plaque reminder is a handy tool to make plaque visible.
Severe gum disease (periodontitis)
The inflammation of the gums can spread to the jawbone. The inflammation releases the gums from the teeth and molars. The space (pocket) between the tooth and gums becomes deeper. The inflammation in the gum line can spread to the jawbone. As a result, the gums release even further. The inflammation causes the fibers to break and the jaw bone to break down. Consequence? Even deeper pockets. Here the plaque partially calcifies into tartar. The gums can retract. This progressive inflammation with breakdown of fibers and jawbone is called periodontitis. Periodontitis is often not felt and can go unnoticed for a long time without proper control.
Periodontitis is often only noticed when the teeth and teeth are looser or when the space between them teeth grow. Because the gums are withdrawn far away, roots are exposed.
Exposed roots have no protective glaze. As a result, holes are easily formed. Also teeth and molars are exposed with exposed roots. For example if you brush your teeth or if you eat or drink hot, cold, sweet or even sour products. Due to the inflammation, so many jawbones can disappear that your teeth will fall out.
How do you know if the inflammation is serious?
On the eye, all the inflamed gums look the same. To determine the severity of an inflammation, the dentist or dental hygienist must measure the spaces between the teeth and the gums (pockets). He does this with a so-called pocket probe for all teeth. With the measurement he determines per tooth or choose the severity of the inflammation. With healthy gums, a pocket is a maximum of 3 mm and does not bleed. Inflamed gums give pockets up to 5 mm. Further advanced inflammations have even deeper pockets, often of 6 mm or even more. Then there is also bone degradation.
What should I do to make and keep my gums healthy?
Inflamed gums only heal if you remove all plaque daily.
My gums are inflamed, how do I remove all plaque?
With good oral hygiene you remove all dental plaque. That means more than twice a day brushing your teeth for 2 minutes with a fluoride toothpaste. Also daily clean the spaces between your teeth and molars with toothpicks, brushes or floss. Good daily oral hygiene is the basis of healthy gums and a healthy mouth.
What can the dentist do about inflamed gums?
Your dentist or dental hygienist can advise you and give instructions with which you can maintain and maintain your oral hygiene. With good oral hygiene you remove dental plaque from your teeth on a daily basis and choose where you can reach yourself with the toothbrush, toothpicks, brushes or floss. You cannot brush away tartar yourself. Your oral care provider does this with special instruments. This is called dental cleaning. Your daily efforts together with professional dental cleaning in the dental care practice are rewarded. The inflammation can disappear and healthy gums can attach themselves to the teeth. The gums may recede somewhat during healing. Once lost, the jaw bone will not return. Who removes all dental plaque on a daily basis prevents new inflammations.
Can I remove plaque with a mouthwash?
Some mouthwashes make it easier to remove plaque. However, they cannot replace the use of a toothbrush combined with toothpicks, brushes or floss. Mouthwashes can give a fresh mouth odor and pleasant taste.
Is smoking harmful to my gums?
In addition to the known health risks, smoking also has adverse consequences for your gums. Smokers’ gums look paler and bleed less quickly, while it can still be inflamed. If you smoke, the gums will recover worse from inflammation. In smokers, the jaw bone breaks down 2x faster than normal.
I am pregnant. Am I more likely to get inflamed gums?
During your pregnancy you are more likely to get gum problems. Due to the changed activity of your hormones, the gums respond more strongly to the presence of dental plaque. Extra attention to oral hygiene during your pregnancy is therefore very important. If you carefully remove all plaque, your pregnancy does not pose any additional risk of getting gum disease.
Does stress have consequences for gum disease?
Everyone sometimes suffers from stress. Longer-lasting psychological stress can suppress the body’s defenses and therefore the gums. Those who have a lot of stress have a greater chance of periodontitis. The effects of periodontitis can also be more serious.
Does diabetes affect my gums?
Someone with diabetes is more sensitive to inflammation and infection. So the gums also ignite faster. This happens especially when the diabetes is not properly adjusted. People with diabetes, and especially diabetes that is not well established, have an increased chance of developing periodontitis.