Patients in the area of Saint Helens, OR may think more about their teeth when it comes to their smile than they do their gums. Many are worried about how straight their teeth are or how bright and brilliant their tooth enamel is. However, it is important that patients don’t forget about their gums, and learn about the reasons why they need to keep their gums healthy for improving oral health and wellness overall. In fact, if patients fail to take good care of their gums, they may be putting their smile at risk for periodontal disease, or “gum disease.”
What is periodontal disease?
This condition is an infection that develops in the mouth, starting with the soft tissues of the gums. The infection results in inflammation, swelling, and bleeding. If patients do not seek diagnosis of their condition and treatment early on, they may be putting their entire smile at risk. Periodontal disease, as it progresses, can be damaging to not only the gums, but the natural bone and the teeth. Taking good care of the gums is the best way to avoid the development of this condition and to reduce the risks of damaging infections.
Ways to keep the gums healthy
Drs. Hiebert and Smith of Saint Helens, OR encourages patients to consider these methods of caring for the smile that ensure healthy gums:
- Flossing. Flossing removes food particles that may be difficult to remove with brushing alone, and can also remove plaque that can develop between the teeth. At least once a day is all it takes for healthier gums!
- Brushing. Brushing after ever meal with a soft-bristle brush and fluoride toothpaste helps remove food and plaque that can get stuck on the gums and contribute to periodontal disease.
- Routine dental cleanings. By visiting a dentist, patients can not only have their teeth thoroughly cleaned by the dental hygienist, but their dentist will have the opportunity to evaluate the health of the smile and catch problems like periodontal disease early for effective treatment.
- Avoid tobacco products. Smoking and chewing tobacco are especially harmful to the health of the gum tissues and other soft tissues int eh mouth. It can also have negative effects on the entire body, and should be avoided at all costs.
- Mouthwashes. Even when you have finished brushing and flossing the teeth and gums, you should always wrap up your hygiene habits with the use of a mouthwash. Mouthwashes allow one extra step in fighting gingivitis, plaque, and tartar buildup.
Book an appointment with the team at Hiebert Smith Dental Group
Saint Helens, OR area patients who are interested in comprehensive dental care solutions, including an education in proper oral health habits, are welcome to book a consultation visit with Drs. Hiebert and Smith. Call (503) 397-6144 today to speak to our team at 1550 Saint Helens Street about the many ways you can keep your gums—and smile—healthy!