Having a set of sparkling pearly white teeth can certainly improve the way you look. Discoloration or staining of teeth can certainly become a cause of cosmetic concern for most of us. This is the reason why many people shell out lots of money in order to get their teeth whitened. Well, one needs to go beyond the cosmetic issues and think about the dental health as well. Paying attention to dental hygiene can help in protecting the tooth enamel and even help in lowering the incidence of dental problems such as tooth abscesses, dental cavities and tooth decay.
One must, however, remember that dental problems are not just confined to the teeth. Gum diseases can also cause a lot of discomfort. Gums are a part of the tissue lining of the mouth that border the neck of the teeth. Gums, which are medically referred to as gingivae, are mucosal membranes that act as a covering for the fibrous connective tissue that support the teeth within the jaws. These also cover the small alveolar sockets within which the roots of the teeth are firmly attached. Trauma to a gum can cause gum irritation around tooth.
Formation of plaque around the gums can also lead to inflammation of the gums. If left untreated, inflammation of the gums may turn into a more serious form of gum disease. Given below is some information on what causes gums to get irritated and how can this dental problem be treated and prevented.
What Causes Gum Irritation?
As mentioned earlier, accumulation of dental plaque is one of the most common causes of inflammation of gums. Plaque is a film or a coating made from bacteria and mucus that collects on the teeth. This is caused due to a lack of dental care. As we eat food, the food debris may get stuck in our teeth. If this is not removed quickly, bacteria start acting on the food. Acid that is produced in this process starts damaging the tooth surface.
In case of people with poor dental hygiene, layers of plaque keep depositing on the food. When saliva is unable to penetrate through these layers, the effect of acid cannot be neutralized. Plaque could even get encrusted and turn into tartar. If the plaque deposits are formed on the roots of a tooth, it can also affect the gums. This can make one susceptible to dental problems.
At times, pockets may develop between the gums and the teeth. If plaque gets trapped in these pockets, gums are likely to get more irritated or inflamed. If left untreated, the gingivitis or inflammation of gums may develop to periodontal disease. This is a condition wherein both the periodontal ligament that connects the tooth to the socket and the bone that contains the socket that holds the teeth, start getting affected. This leads to formation of a gap between the tooth and the gum.
The affected tooth may become loose or even fall off. Besides the formation of plaque, wearing ill-fitting dentures or brushing one's teeth vigorously can also cause the gums to get irritated. Use of certain drugs or teeth whitening products can also cause gum problems. Nutritional deficiencies could also make one susceptible to irritated gums.
How to Treat Gum Irritation
If the gums are sore, swollen and often bleed, one must consult a dentist soon. It's extremely important to identify the underlying cause of gum problems. Since plaque and tartar buildup is one of the most common causes of irritated gums, plaque deposits must be removed. Dentists use an instrument called a special electric scaler for this purpose. Brushing and flossing teeth properly is one of the best ways to prevent the buildup of plaque. Using a hard bristled toothbrush can also irritate the gums and cause them to bleed, so, make sure that you are using a soft bristled toothbrush.
Change your toothbrush every three months. You could also use an interdental toothbrush that can remove food debris from places where a regular toothbrush may not be able to reach. Using a good quality mouthwash or a toothpaste is also important. If you are not too sure as to which dental products you should use, you can always consult a dentist.
One must avoid using a toothpaste if sodium lauryl sulfate figures in the list of ingredients. Though sodium lauryl sulfate encourages foaming, it is rather caustic and has an adverse effect on the lining of the mouth. It can cause mouth ulcers and could even irritate the gums. If your gums are sensitive, it would be better to use a toothpaste or gum gel that is specially meant for people with sensitive gums. Massaging the gums gently with clove oil can also help in strengthening the gums. Rinsing or gargling with lukewarm saline water may also prove beneficial in treating infected gums.
Since bacteria thrive on foods or beverages that are rich in carbohydrates, one must cut down on intake of foods that are sugary, starchy or acidic. Smoking or chewing tobacco can also irritate the gums, and may lead to serious diseases, so, it would be in your best interest not to smoke or chew tobacco. If your gums bleed very often, the wise thing to do would be to consult a dentist for the treatment of irritated gums. An early diagnosis can prevent gingivitis from turning into periodontal disease.
If your gums are healthy, they wouldn't bleed due to normal stresses such as brushing or flossing. Swollen gums that bleed quite often may be a sign of gingivitis. So, consult a dentist before the gums start pulling away from the teeth and form infected pockets. If left untreated, periodontal disease could cause the affected tooth to even fall off. So consult a dentist before it is too late.