Although many people focus on the health of their teeth, they may not give much consideration to the state of their gums. Nevertheless, the gingival tissues have an important role in the mouth. They protect the bone of the jaw and the roots of the teeth while helping to hold the teeth firmly in their proper position.
The gums are unable to fulfill their functions properly when they become diseased due to damage incurred from their exposure to bacterial acids. The acids, which are produced as digestive byproducts, dissolve the minerals that compose the tooth enamel and inflame the gums. As the gums become increasingly irritated, gum disease develops.
Gum disease begins as an early form of the condition called gingivitis, and if left untreated, it becomes periodontal disease. Periodontal disease allows pockets to form between the gums and the teeth. Oral bacteria gather in the pockets and may cause an infection to ensue.
Still, gum disease is avoidable. Here are a few things that you can do to help keep your gums healthy.
Use an Antibacterial Mouthwash
There are many varieties of mouthwash that are available for purchase. Some even kill germs.
Since the bacteria within the mouth play a significant role in the start and progression of gum disease, the elimination of the microbes can help keep the gums healthier. Antibacterial mouth rinses should be used regularly immediately following your daily regimen of brushing and flossing.
When selecting a mouth rinse, be sure to look for a product that is alcohol-free. Although alcohol is effective at initially eliminating oral bacteria, it also dries out the mouth. When the mouth contains too little moisture, bacteria thrive. Thus, an alcohol-based rinse may actually work against the health of your gums in the long run. Products containing chlorhexidine are preferred because they are antimicrobial but do not cause dry mouth.
Use an Oral Irrigator
An oral irrigator helps to flush debris and plaque from along the gum line and between the teeth. The device uses a concentrated stream of water that promotes good circulation within the gingival tissues as it helps to clean the mouth. Some oral irrigators even include pulsating options to create a massaging effect for the gums. The force of the water flow is also usually adjustable to ensure optimal comfort throughout the irrigation process.
To learn more ways to keep your gums healthy, schedule a consultation with a periodontist in your local area, like those at New England Dental Specialists of Norwood.