Published: 27 July 2015
By:Dr R van Huyssteen
For a healthy smile you need healthy teeth and healthy gums. Your gums, along with the ligament and bone around the tooth’s root, keep your teeth stable in your mouth. That is why you need to keep your gums healthy.
We all know we have to brush our teeth in the morning and evening. But why exactly do we brush twice a day? During the day your salivary glands are very active and produce a lot of saliva that rinses your mouth. They are, however, less active when you sleep, which means less rinsing. As a result harmful bacterial secretions accumulate. Brushing before bed is necessary in order to ensure as little bacteria, and food for bacteria, when there is less saliva. In the morning we brush to get rid of all the bacterial secretions and as a result we have a fresh breath.
It is also very important to floss before we go to sleep. This removes all the food that is stuck between the teeth. If any food should stay behind, it fuels the bacteria and they have a ball. This is also the place where most cavities start to form, and because it is impossible see here, cavities can become quite large before you notice something is wrong.
If your gums are red or swollen or bleed easily, they are probably infected. If this is not treated the infection can spread to the ligament and bone around the tooth’s root and ultimately destroy it. Without treatment your teeth lose support, become mobile and in the end need to be extracted. Other signs of infection are pain when biting or pain when you eat or drink something hot. You can also develop bad breath.
If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to visit your dentist. He or she can determine the severity of the problem and advise treatment. It is to your benefit to have your teeth checked and cleaned twice a year. This ensures that problems are identified early and usually simplifies treatment.
People who have diabetes or heart conditions must avoid gum infection as it can place further strain on their health.
Pregnant women must practice good oral hygiene as the symptoms of gum infection are prone to be more severe during pregnancy.
Red, swollen, painful, inflamed gums will ruin a beautiful smile and nobody wants a bad breath. For a breath taking smile, don’t forget to take care of your gums.