Gums are the supportive structure of the teeth that keep them in place but they have many roles to play. They protect your pearly whites from the bad bacteria to enter into deeper parts of the teeth and from many infections. While we often talk about our teeth health, healthy gums are equally important for overall health. Gum Health Day is celebrated on May 12 every year and is an initiative that aims to change this. Gum disease is called a silent epidemic, and all of us should be aware that it is preventable. (Also read: Are you making these mistakes with your kid’s dental health?)
“Even if we do have a cavity-free healthy mouth, our gums might be at risk of periodontal diseases. Gum diseases can range from mild gingivitis and periodontitis to advanced periodontitis. Gingivitis refers to the common and mild form of gum disease (periodontitis) and it causes redness, irritation, bleeding and swelling of the gum around the base of your teeth. Periodontitis, on the other hand, is a chronic infection that affects the soft tissues of the gum and can damage the bone that supports your teeth,” says Dr Ashok B K, Senior Research Scientist, Himalaya Wellness Company.
Here are ways to identify gum problems in its initial stages:
Gum discolouration: This is when we can see change in the original gum colour (pink); if your gums look white, bright red or black, it could be a sign of gum disease.
Gum irritation: A sharp burning sensation or irritation occurs when you eat, or when your gums encounter food.
Gum tenderness: If upon a slight touch with the finger or bristles, the gum aches and eventually bleeds, this is a clear sign of gum problems.
Gums support our teeth in several ways; gums are the structure that support your teeth and keep the roots of your teeth from cavities. Taking care of your gums is a critical part of ensuring overall oral health.
Here are some tips to maintain gum health
– Brush your teeth thoroughly at least twice a day to prevent dental cavities, tooth sensitivity, and plaque formation. It is important to brush properly, about 2-3 minutes per brush, spending 30 seconds in each area of your mouth, and making sure you are actively brushing each tooth.
– Practice oral swishing as part of your daily dental health regimen: This serves as an added defense against bacteria. Mouthwash gets into the crevices and soft tissue of your mouth that you may not always reach with your brush. Choose mouthwashes that come with the goodness of time-tested ingredients like Neem, Pomegranate, Meswak, and Menthol. They can provide complete protection for cleaner, fresher, healthier gums and teeth.
– Gently massaging your gums can help in keeping them healthy: You can use a product, preferably a gel with astringent herbs like Indian Kino Tree and Triphala, that helps prevent gum bleeding and strengthening gums.
– A traditional method like oil pulling is also known to be effective in strengthening the teeth, gums, and jaw. For this method, Gingelly Oil or any other medicated oil can be used. Practicing oil pulling regularly helps reduce plaque build-up and protects the gums against Gingivitis.
– Stop smoking, as it is not only bad for your lungs and heart but also your teeth and gums.
– Consume a balanced and nutritious diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, and grains. This will help improve not only your dental health but your overall health as well.
– Most importantly, it is imperative to visit your dentist at least once a year, even if you have no natural teeth or have dentures.
“Gum health plays a crucial role in our oral and overall health and wellness. A healthy oral cavity gives you the confidence to smile, whereas poor oral health will not only affect your smile but can impact your self-esteem. This Gum Health Day, let us all pledge to be more mindful about how we treat our gums,” concludes Dr Ashok B K.