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Craig A. Smith, DDS
Healthy Gums Are Essential To a Beautiful Smile
Craig A. Smith, DDS

Healthy Gums Are Essential To a Beautiful Smile

Why is periodontal maintenance of the utmost importance? Periodontal maintenance keeps your gums healthy; unhealthy gums can recede or become red and swollen. Healthy gums appear coral pink, firm and form a sharp point where they meet the tooth. When excessive amounts of bacteria and food debris build up in the spaces between the teeth and gums, a sticky material called plaque is formed.

A plaque build-up can develop and harden into calculus (tartar), which irritates the gums. Bacterial byproducts (or toxins) in the tartar cause gums to become infected, red and tender, a condition called gingivitis. Gingivitis is the beginning stage of periodontal (gum) disease.

As gum disease progresses, the facial bones are destroyed causing teeth to loosen or fall out. Adults past the age of 35 lose more teeth to gum disease than cavities. Three out of four adults are affected at some time in their life.

To prevent periodontal diseases, and to keep the smile beautiful, the patient must maintain the health of the teeth and gum tissue through daily flossing and brushing, and regular professional examinations and cleanings. In addition, maintaining a healthy diet and low levels of stress boost the body's natural immune system, which fights bacteria in the mouth.

Unfortunately, even with the most diligent home dental care, people still can develop some form of periodontal disease. Once this disease starts, professional intervention is necessary to prevent its progress.

Other Important Factors Affecting The Health Of Your Gums Include

Tobacco Use

Clenching and grinding teeth

Poor nutrition




If you do not receive professional cleaning to halt the spread of gingivitis, the infection will spread from the gums to the ligaments and bone supporting the teeth. The tissues and ligaments will be destroyed; infections are likely to develop, causing a gum abscess, a collection of pus and swelling of gum tissues. Teeth may become loose and the gums may recede, creating increased spaces between teeth.

Dentists treat gingivitis by cleaning teeth to remove plaque and tartar and prescribing special mouthwashes or topical treatments. Treatment for periodontal disease involves more serious action such as antibiotics and antimicrobials, deep scaling of the root surface, removing infected gum tissue or extracting teeth. To avoid these potentially painful symptoms and treatments, it is important to catch the disease in its earlier stages.

Early Warning Signs

Of Gum Disease

Bleeding gums when brushing or flossing

Mouth sores

Bright red, red-purple or shiny gums

Gums that are tender to the touch

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