Gum health – Everything you need to know!
A great sparkling smile is not just something that looks good on a person’s face, but in the last couple of years has become a matter of obsession among the masses, thanks to iconic celebrities who spend plenty of money in order to achieve that red carpet ready grin and set the trend mills rolling.Most of us pay a lot of attention to the whiteness or perfect alignment of our teeth. But we tend to ignore our gums. Gum disease is common among people but goes unnoticed as its usually not as painful as a tooth problem. It is very crucial to pay equal attention to the health of your gums, as it is to your teeth.
In order to take good care of gums, one must follow a dental care routine and also use a specialised tooth paste for gum care, like Pepsodent G.
Dr. Kamlesh Desai, a renowned dentist based in Mumbai spoke to me in an E-mail interview and answered some very informative questions about gum health and care along with some very useful tips.
Q. People generally focus more on having beautiful, white and perfect teeth. Can you elaborate the importance of gum health?
Your gums are the crucibles that hold your teeth in health. They are tightly bound to the underlying bone and exhibit a healthy pink colour as well as firm, clear demarcations surrounding teeth. They enhance your teeth that we generally notice first. Notice the gumlines of famous persons in the movies or TV and you will see just what I mean.
Q. What might be the consequences of poor gum health?
Early loss of teeth, bad breath, an unsightly appearance, poor self-confidence and possibly limited social interaction, courtesy the consciousness of it. General health is also impacted as diseased gums act as reservoirs of bacteria that can spread to the rest of the body.In fact, new research highlights all this in relation to heart and kidney disease, poor glycaemic control in diabetics and even seem to be implicated in low birthweight, preterm babies among other issues.
Q. How often should one see a dentist for routine check-ups?
Each and everyone of us should visit a competent dentist at least once a year. In case there is a history of oral health issues, it is advisable to do so twice a year.
Q. As a dentist, what are the most common gum problems do your see in your patients?
It is difficult to quantify with statistics but certainly Periodontal disease is endemic to our country and the highest cause of early tooth loss.
- Early bleeding from gums ,swollen gums in advanced disease,recession due to tartar and calculus formation are quite commonplace
- Recession without any visible swelling and/or bleeding should also need attention as it may be due to overzealous brushing and sometimes para function or the manifestation of an underlying disease not necessarily connected to the mouth only
- Poor brushing technique contributes to this as well as the use of traditional methods of brushing such as datum in rural areas
- Tobacco and related products cause certified recession and in our country cause discoloration of teeth,gums,bad breath further compounding oral care issues
- Periodontal disease is prevalent in India and is the leading cause of early tooth loss[edentulousness]
- Diabetics[we are the diabetes capital of the world,unfortunately] must be extra vigilant as they are likely to suffer early tooth loss due to gum disease which they are more prone to
- Medication related problems[as seen in epileptics and high blood pressure cases] are not uncommon either
- Vitamin deficiency must also be kept in mind and corrected as it correlates with gum disease too
Q. What are the signs or symptoms one must not ignore where gums are concerned?
- Never ignore bleeding gums as gums do not scream in pain when hurt.They usually bleed and recede, though pain may occur, but is unlike a severe toothache which makes its presence felt more dramatically
- Shaky teeth are another area of concern as is a foul odour emanating from the oral cavity
- Swollen gums that are red and bleed spontaneously deserve attention as does excessive salivation that accompanies ulcers of the gums or the periodontal complex
Q. What are the more common gum health issues which can be avoided or treated easily with just a little extra care?
Early loss of teeth, bad breath, bleeding, recession that makes teeth look elongated, unsightly gaps can all be prevented if one is vigilant about essential gumcare. Total abstinence from tobacco is mandatory as gums are most easily damaged by tobacco and tobacco related products.
Q. Which toothpaste would you recommend for maintaining healthy gums?
Specialised toothpastes meant for gum care are now commercially available and can be used easily. You can also consult your dentist who will then assess and advise accordingly.
Q. Could you give us a basic gum and teeth care routine ?
- Wet your brush and mouth
- Use a pea head size drop of a good gum care toothpaste brush at an angle of 45 degrees [downwards for upper gums and teeth and upwards for lower gums and teeth; both in front and on the inner surfaces] slowly for a period of 3-5 minutes using gentle wrist pressure
Q. The internet is full of life hacks, tips and tricks. Can you give us some tips, tricks or hacks which we can apply in our everyday lives for a healthy set of teeth and gums?
- Rinse after any and every intake of food
- Flossing is a good habit and helps eliminate early tartar/debris.[They say:Floss the teeth you want to keep!]
- Massaging with a good gumpaint, especially after cleaning/and by senior citizens will help retain the firmness of gums around teeth
- The use of an interdental brush especially in implant users and when age/disease related recession has already set in is another tip/trick of value that would help prolong the life of teeth in the oral cavity
- Avoid using hard brushes and uncertified dentifrices as they may abrade and do more harm than good
- A good mouthwash in indicated cases[by your dentist] is good too.However, it is not necessarily a part of the everyday armamentarium unlike twice daily brushing,especially night-brushing]
- Good nutrition with a balanced diet is also important to maintain good gum health
- I advise people to eat a piece of cucumber[easily available and inexpensive]or carrot or broccoliafter meals, as they act as natural cleansers and help maintain homeostasis
- Remember: Healthy gums and teeth reflect good general health!
Speaking from experience, I was myself going through an issue with my gums last year. They would bleed when I brushed my teeth and I could feel one of my teeth moving! And I am an adult with wisdom teeth! I rushed to my dentist and he recommended I use a specialized toothpaste for Gum care like Pepsodent G.
I saw results just about two weeks and was highly impressed. Pepsodent G has been my trusted brand of toothpaste ever since.
This post is an awareness initiative by Pepsodent