When thinking about dental health, we need to think in two parts. Healthy teeth, but crucially as well: healthy gums. Without healthy gums, perfectly healthy teeth can become loose and lost. Additionally, inflamed gums and gum disease have been linked to other systemic conditions like diabetes, alzheimers and more, which is why it’s important to ensure your gums aren’t inflamed. So, what does gum health include? How do we know our gums are healthy or not? In this blog we answer all of your gum related questions.
To ensure optimal gum health you need to understand
1) Gum Biotype
2) Enhanced oral hygiene regimes
3) Optimal tooth position for gum health
#1 Gum health and biotypes – Thick & Thin
The measures we take to ensure tooth health also contribute to healthy gums. What most people don’t realise, though, is that not everyone has the same gum type. Based on your genes, you will fall into the category of having either a thick or thin gum biotype. This will then influence which problems or conditions you are more likely to encounter, especially if your oral hygiene regime were to take a turn for the worse.
1) Thick Biotype
Gums of a thick biotype have a flatter and plumper appearance. They have the advantage of being less susceptible to gum recession, but can be more prone to inflammation.
2) Thin biotypes
Gums of a thin biotype are – you guessed it – thinner and appear scalloped along the gumline. Unlike the thick biotype, these are more susceptible to gum recession, exposing the tooth and potentially leading to increased tooth sensitivity.
#2 Oral hygiene promoting good gum health
Daily brushing and flossing is as important for gum health as it is for tooth health. A key factor in gum health is making sure there is no inflammation, which means ensuring the area between the gum and the tooth at the front and back is clean, but also the area in between the teeth. If gums become inflamed, it can lead to other problems in your body. For example, if you have diabetes, inflammation in your gums can throw your blood sugar out of balance, and there have also been links to alzeihmers and heart conditions. A word of warning, though: while more aggressive brushing and flossing is often thought of as more “thorough”, you’re probably damaging your gums instead. Any extreme irritation can lead to redness, cuts, and inflammation. It’s important to brush and floss sensibly with the right toothpaste, brush and supplementary products or treatments. If you think your gum health could do with an upgrade, you might like to read up on the Instant Dentist™ Periodontal Disinfect or Gum Protect regime. These packages are designed to improve gum health and reduce inflammation within 30days. Periodontal disinfect is designed to be the first point of call to mechanically remove plaque and help reduce inflammation, whilst Gum Protect is designed as an ongoing active care package to ensure optimal gum health.
Furthermore, gums benefit from regular thorough cleaning, which removes build-up such as plaque and calculus. This is done by your dentist, who will opt for either a physical or combined cleaning and antibacterial irrigation process process.
1) Physical cleaning
The objective here is to thoroughly clean the tooth/gum interface (where teeth and gums meet) with a power toothbrush. In the same process, interproximal brushes and floss can be used to clean the areas between teeth. This prevents build up of bacteria and inflamed gums, as any food residue is removed and the teeth are perfectly cleaned.
2) Chemotherapeutic cleaning (use of antibacterial gels or rinses)
As the name suggests, this process involves the use of active ingredients in the form of mouthwashes and gels. They contain active ingredients such as chlorhexidine or antibacterial components that prevent bacteria from adhering to your teeth, reducing the amount of bacteria in your mouth. For a really thorough clean, oral irrigators can be filled with antibacterial rinses to cleanse hard to reach places and interproximal brushes can be first dipped into the mouthwashes or gels, ensuring the most vulnerable areas get the attention they deserve.
#3 Gum health on the go
You can also keep your gums healthy while you’re out and about. Just keep a small pouch with a travel size toothbrush and toothpaste, or even some mouthwash, so that you can dart off to the bathroom after a meal and come back feeling fresh. This is especially important for anyone undergoing teeth straightening treatment, as any trapped food or bacteria can cause serious issues to the straightening progress. This leads us to the final point…
#4 Healthier gums through straighter teeth
As you can imagine, it’s hard to clean between two spaces that overlap each other. Teeth are no exception. It’ll come as no surprise, then, that straighter teeth mean healthier gums! There are a few things that need to be considered, though, when opting for any teeth straightening procedure.
1) Your gum health must be taken into account before starting any treatment. This means you should be asked about your BPE gum scores. These can be made available to you by the dentist you visited for your last checkup. If your gums are healthy, you’re free to proceed with whichever treatment is right for you.
2) Your gums will be easier to keep healthy once your teeth are straight, but it’s also important to consider your gum health throughout the treatment. There are now several teeth straightening options on the market. The most common are still fixed metal braces, and the most modern and increasingly popular are invisible aligners.
Fixed braces, as you may have heard from friends and family, can be extremely irritating to your gums. Not only does the sharp metal aggravate and cut into the soft gum tissue, cleaning between your teeth and around the metal is very difficult. The increased amount of bacteria combined with irritated gums is a recipe for gingivitis and gum disease.
Invisible aligners, on the other hand, are removable and don’t irritate your gums, offering a more hygienic teeth straightening procedure. They allow for better oral care, as there are no wires or attachments to get in the way of your toothbrush and floss, minimising the chances of gum disease and gingivitis.
Looking to get professional advice on your specific case? Get in touch with a trusted dentist today by completing your Instant Dentist™ consultation! They will then prepare your individual 360 Smile Report and recommend the appropriate regime for your gums, which can all be delivered to your front door.