35.7 Million Americans are living with a bacterial infection of the gums known as periodontal disease. Do you know the signs of healthy gums? Take this quiz.
Brushing your teeth too hard has no effect on your gums
When teeth are brushed too aggressively or a toothbrush is used with bristles that are too hard, the gums can easily become red and inflamed. “Forceful brushing can cause gum recession—it’s like taking a Brillo pad to your gums,” says Dr. Neal S. Lehrman.
Most gum disease is painless
According to Dr. Timothy Chase, most patients who are experiencing gum-related problems don’t know what’s going on inside their mouth. “A lot of times they come in for a regular cleaning and we notice that there is inflammation or recession of the gums. Or, they complain of a cold sensitivity thinking that they have a cavity, but in reality when cold air and water hits the root of the tooth it is uncomfortable. Many gum problems will go unnoticed until they are diagnosed by a dentist.”
Lip and tongue piercings can affect the health of your gums
”Lip or tongue piercings can cause the gums to recede because the ring or jewelry can rub and abrade the gums and push them back,” says Atlanta cosmetic dentist David Garber, DMD. Jewelry worn in the mouth for an extended period of time can also cause a colonization of bacteria, chipped teeth (when the piercing hits the teeth repeatedly), sore or bleeding gums and even sensitivity to cold and hot.
If your gums are bleeding you shouldn’t brush and floss them
Bleeding gums signal that the gums are not healthy, but just because they bleed doesn’t mean you should skip brushing and flossing. When the gums bleed you still need to take care of them by removing the buildup and plaque that’s causing them to bleed in the first place.
Unhealthy gums can lead to bad breath
As the gums start to deteriorate in health, bad breath can ensue as a result of the buildup of bacteria and the infection that can develop.
Did You Know?
Although it’s not that common, if your aligner or retainer is too tight on the gums it could impinge on them and cause them to recede.
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