oral medicine & Pathology

Healthy Gums: how to keep your gums healthy

Healthy gums images

They say that being healthy is part of being beautiful. A healthy plant looks more beautiful than a wilted one. A healthy skin looks more beautiful than a dry irritated one. And when we come to the healthy beautiful smile we have to pay attention not only for the health of our teeth but also for the health of our gums. The gum or “the gingiva” is a part of the system harvesting teeth, which means that taking care of its health is not only about having a beautiful smile but also about retaining the teeth in their place for the very long run.

Why does gum become sick?

gum disease pictures

The gum becomes unhealthy and inflamed when substances from certain types of bacteria are released. These bacteria are found in dental plaque, which is formed when there are residues of food left on and around the tooth surfaces. If dental plaque is left unbrushed it will harden within twelve days and form calculus. The presence of such a microbial source in the mouth will destroy the gingiva and the underlying bone in the long run which will loosen the teeth.

How does healthy gum look like?

A healthy gingiva is pale pink in color, firm in consistency, with orange peel appearance, scalloped contour, and knife-edge margins.

How do I know if I have a gum disease?

Well, there are two stages of the disease affecting the tooth harvesting system:

– It might be just an inflammation of the gum “gingiva” which is called (gingivitis):

  • When the gingiva is inflamed it swells, becomes reddish in color with rolled margins and with high bleeding tendency, it even bleeds with brushing.

It might be gingivitis associated with bone destruction which is called (periodontitis):

  • When the gingival inflammation is left untreated, then the destruction will not be limited to gingiva only but it will affect the underlying bone as well. And when that happens you might suffer from periodontal pockets, or recession of the gum line which results in exposing the roots of the teeth, which is really very bad esthetically and facilitates accumulation of more dental plaque leading to more gingival inflammation and more bone destruction. This cycle if not broken by thorough treatment and care, it might end up by losing your teeth.

To sum up, these are signs that are like an alert for having a gum disease:

gum bleeding

  • Your gum is bleeding on brushing.
  • Your gum is swollen, reddish in color and tender (there is a pain when applying a pressure on it)
  • You complain of bad breath and bad taste.
  • Your gum line has exposed the roots of the teeth.
  • Your teeth are mobile.

How can I have a healthy gum?

– there are two main tips you should follow to take care of your gum health, as the following:

  1. Taking care of oral hygiene measures which include the following:

 

I – Professional dental cleaning:

  • It would be preferable to visit the dental hygienist from time to time so he can detect any gingival problem you have in an early stage so it can be reversible. He’ll also remove the calculus and any of the external deposits that are staining your teeth. When you see how beautiful your teeth look when they are polished and free from calculus you will be encouraged to take care of your gum and teeth, and by time when the gingival inflammation fades away gradually, you will notice that the symptoms are gone and you`ll like the look of your smile even more. So don’t hesitate going to the dental hygienist it’s worthy.  

II –  At home oral hygiene care:

oral hygiene

a) Tooth brush:

  • It is better to brush your teeth after each meal so you can make sure that the plaque is always removed and there is no chance for bacteria to colonize and release its harmful substances on your gingiva or teeth. But if you can`t do it that frequently, you should brush it at least twice a day in the morning and before bed. If your gingiva is so tender and bleeds easily you can brush gently using a soft bristled brush, but don`t ever take it as an excuse for not brushing your teeth because this way you won’t have any teeth to brush in the long run. The direction of brushing should start from the gum upwards in the lower teeth and downwards in the upper teeth so as to make sure that food residues won’t be trapped beneath the gingiva. It is important to say that you have to change your brush every three months because it often frays within this period of time which affects the quality of brushing. You can also consider using battery- powered or electrical toothbrush for more effective brushing.

b) Dental floss:

  • Dental flossing is as important as brushing. It shouldn’t be ignored since it removes food residues in areas in between the teeth which cannot be reached by brushing alone. So at least you have to floss once a day, as we want to protect our teeth and gingiva from harmful effect of bacteria colonizing in that hidden food residues.

C) The toothpaste:

  • There are brands in the market that contain therapeutic substances that are specific for treating gingival inflammation. You can use them to sooth your gingivitis.

D) The mouthwash:

  • As toothpastes, there are mouthwashes with therapeutic substances in them that reduce plaque formation and soothes gingivitis. These mouthwashes are effective in reversing the gingival inflammation in its early stage along with the previously mentioned hygiene measures. When you choose a mouthwash it`s preferable to contain fluoride and to have the ADA (American Dental Association) seal which guarantees its safety and effectiveness.   

2. If you’re a smoker, it’s better to quit smoking:

smoking and gum disease

  • Smoking affects your immune system, which makes it more vulnerable to gingival and periodontal diseases, and even makes its healing more difficult. So quit smoking if you care about your smile.

Is there any certain diet for healthier gum?

foods for healthy gums

-Surprisingly there is. And here are some of the foods that help your gum to be healthy and glowing its natural beauty:

  1. Ginger:
  • Ginger has an anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effect, which are both very helpful to reverse your gingivitis. It also freshens your breath with its natural smell.

        2. Green tea:

  • Green tea is an antioxidant that is believed to have a good effect on gingival inflammation. It also contains fluoride that is good for your teeth. It is advisable to drink a cup of green tea daily as an everyday routine for gingival care.

         3. Leafy greens:

  • The high fiber content in leafy greens makes their chewing has a strong cleansing effect that removes plaque and food residues that are stuck to your tooth and gum. At the same time chewing leafy greens stimulates the production of saliva which washes away the bacteria and dental plaque. Moreover, most of the leafy greens contain vitamin C which is very important for reducing inflammation.

           4. Onion:

  • Onion has an antibacterial effect that targets some of the bacteria causing gingivitis. So it`s advisable to add raw onion to your daily meals whenever possible.

              5. Milk:

  • As we know milk is rich in calcium that is essential for the health of teeth and bones. But at the same time it neutralizes the acids produced by plaque bacteria, which reduces the harm on your teeth and gum. So drinking a cup of milk regularly will be great for your gingival and dental health, and if you’re not kind of person that can do it daily, you can replace it with yogurt or cheese in your breakfast. Yogurt even contains probiotics (which are beneficial bacteria) that are believed to reduce the gingival inflammation.  

             6. Strawberries:

  • They are considered antioxidants and at the same time rich with vitamin C, which is obviously beneficial to your gingival health.

             7. Carrots and apples:

  • They are rich in minerals, vitamins and other nutrients that are beneficial to your gum. And their chewing has a cleansing effect on your teeth and gum just like that of leafy greens.

           8. Berries, grapes and cherries:

  • They contain a substance called anthocyanin, which is believed to be an antiplaque agent that helps to detach the plaque stuck to your teeth and gum.

            9. Soy, meat and nut:

  • They contain arginine that is also considered an antiplaque agent.

             10. Tea, berries and cocoa:

  • They contain polyphenols that inhibit the growth of plaque bacteria, which will prevent gum diseases.

To make it simpler, any food containing the following is considered beneficial to your gingival health:

  • Antioxidants.
  • Food with an antibacterial effect.
  • Food rich in vitamin C.
  • Firm crunchy food with high water content.
  • Food containing probiotics.
  • Food containing anthocyanin, arginine and polyphenols.

Find smart ways to incorporate these ingredients into your usual daily diet and you will be surprised of the great impact you’ve made to your gum and consequently to your smile. As we see having healthy gum needs a lot of care, which we can summarize into good oral hygiene and smart diet. So in conclusion Give your gum the care it deserves and enjoy the beauty it adds to your smile.