As a periodontist in Los Angeles, I find that many of my patients are surprised to learn that their gums are not as healthy as they think. Even individuals who brush their teeth routinely and schedule regular dental cleanings may exhibit early signs of gingivitis, such as redness, swelling, or bleeding of the gums. If left untreated, mild forms of gum disease can progress into more advanced stages and cause gum recession, bone loss, and eventual tooth loss or other health issues.
There’s no doubt that frequent brushing and consistent dental examinations are important for oral health; however, additional measures should be taken in order to keep the mouth/gums in optimal condition. Here are some suggestions I often recommend to my patients:
- Clean your tongue: bacteria accumulate on the surface of the tongue, which can lead to an increase in plaque tarter build-up and can cause gum problems as well as bad breath and bad taste. Brushing or using a tongue scraper can help remove problematic bacteria.
- Floss daily: the importance of daily flossing cannot be overstated. Flossing removes plaque and debris from around the gum line and between the teeth where brushing can’t reach. To ensure gum health, floss at least once a day, every day.
- Brush after eating acid or sugary foods: certain foods or beverages that are highly acidic or sugary can contribute to tarter accumulation, tooth decay and gum disease. Some common culprits include candy, sodas, citrus fruits, juices, and bubble gum.
When to See a Specialist
If you notice any of the following symptoms, it may be time to seek the assistance of a qualified gum specialist:
- Bleeding after brushing
- Swelling or tenderness
- Receding gum