Neglecting your gum health can lead to gum disease, bad breath, and even tooth loss. That’s because your gums play a crucial role in supporting your teeth. When you have poor gum health, your gums can develop gingivitis or periodontitis, both forms of gum disease. Plus, poor gum health can also impact your overall well-being, as studies suggest a link between gum disease and systemic health issues like heart disease and diabetes. 

So what can you do? Read on to learn everything you need to know about gum health and what steps to take to improve it. If you live in Utah and need help improving your gum health, click the button below to request an appointment!

What Causes Bad Gum Health?

You probably don’t spend much time thinking about your gums, but neglecting them puts you at risk for bad gum health. Gum disease is mainly caused by the long-term effects of plaque and tartar buildup on teeth. Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that forms on teeth daily. When plaque isn’t removed, it hardens and turns into tartar. The only way to remove tartar is with a dental cleaning. When plaque and tartar buildup are left for long periods of time, they can cause inflammation and infection in your gums. 

Here are the main causes of bad gum health: 

  • Poor oral hygiene: Not brushing and flossing your teeth well enough allows plaque and bacteria to accumulate along the gumline. Over time, this causes inflammation of the gums and can lead to gum disease. 
  • Infrequent dental checkups: Regular visits to the dentist are essential to prevent poor gum health as well as catch gum disease early. Dental cleanings remove plaque and tartar to prevent gum disease.  
  • Tobacco use: Tobacco use, including smoking and chewing tobacco, is a significant risk factor for gum disease. Smoking and tobacco use weaken your immune system and make it harder for your gums to heal. 
  • Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, autoimmune disorders, COVID-19, and anything else that causes inflammation in the body can put you at risk for developing gum disease. 
  • Hormones: Hormonal fluctuations during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause can impact your gum health, putting you at risk for gum disease. 
  • Genetic predisposition: Genetics play an important role in your gum health. If you have a family history of gum disease, you may be more likely to develop poor gum health. 

Signs of Bad Gum Health

Bad gum health leads to progressive gum disease if left untreated. That’s why it’s important to watch out for the signs of bad gum health. If you think you might have gum disease, make sure you schedule a checkup with your dentist. Here are some of the signs of bad gum health: 

  • Bleeding gums: If your gums bleed during brushing or flossing, this could be a sign of inflammation and early-stage gum disease. 
  • Swollen or red gums: Healthy gums should be pink and firm. If your gums are swollen and red, this is usually an indication of bad gum health. 
  • Bad breath: If you have chronic bad breath, this could indicate the presence of bacteria in your gums. 
  • Receding gums: Gums that are pulling away from the teeth can expose the roots of your teeth. This makes your teeth more sensitive and more likely to develop cavities.
  • Loose teeth: As gum disease progresses, teeth can loosen and even fall out. If your teeth are loose or wiggly, you should schedule a checkup with your dentist as soon as possible so you don’t lose any teeth.

How to Improve Gum Health

The good news when it comes to poor gum health is that you can take simple steps to majorly improve it. Here are the best ways to improve your gum health: 

  1. Improve your oral care routine: Brush your teeth twice a day using a fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristle toothbrush. You may even consider buying an electric toothbrush, which will remove more plaque than brushing manually. Floss daily to remove plaque and debris from between your teeth.
  2. Use a therapeutic mouthwash: Adding a therapeutic mouthwash with antimicrobial or antibacterial ingredients to your oral care routine will reduce plaque, reduce gum inflammation, and kill bacteria in your mouth. Make sure you choose one with approval by the ADA (American Dental Association) so you know that it’s both safe and effective. 
  3. Stay hydrated: Drinking water helps flush away bacteria and debris, which keeps your mouth cleaner and decreases plaque formation. 
  4. Maintain a balanced diet: Eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Limit sugary snacks and beverages, as they contribute to plaque formation. 
  5. Quit smoking: If you smoke or chew tobacco, quitting can majorly improve both your oral and overall health. 
  6. Regular dental checkups: Schedule dental checkups and cleanings every six months to catch potential issues early. Professional cleanings clear tartar and plaque buildup from your teeth to prevent gum disease. If your gum health has progressed to gingivitis or periodontal disease, you may need to schedule more frequent cleanings. 

Why Good Gum Health is Important

Good gum health impacts more than just your teeth. According to the Cleveland Clinic, bad gum health can affect your overall health, leading to issues like heart disease, pregnancy complications, and other issues. Here are some key reasons why maintaining good gum health is so important: 

  • Support for teeth: Your gums play a vital role in supporting your teeth. Healthy gums keep teeth in place by providing a stable foundation. When gums are compromised, there’s a bigger risk of tooth mobility and even tooth loss. 
  • Prevention of gum disease: Taking good care of your gums through oral care can prevent you from developing gum disease. 
  • Fresh breath: If you want fresh breath, taking care of your gums is one of the best things you can do. Bacteria that accumulates in your gums and between your teeth causes foul-smelling breath. 
  • Aesthetic benefits: Maintaining good gum health enhances the aesthetic appeal of your smile. 
  • Improved overall quality of life: Oral health is closely linked to your overall quality of life. Healthy gums contribute to a pain-free and functional mouth, allowing you to enjoy a varied diet, speak confidently, and engage in social interactions without discomfort. 

Risks Associated with Bad Gum Health

Still need more proof that taking care of your gums is a good idea? Here are some of the risks associated with bad gum health: 

  • Gum disease: If you neglect your gum health long enough, you may develop gum disease. Gingivitis, which causes inflammation and bleeding gums, is the first stage of gum disease. When left untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis, which destroys the bone that supports your teeth. The longer periodontitis is left untreated, the more damage your gums, teeth, and bones will receive. 
  • Tooth decay: Bad gum health contributes to an increased risk of tooth decay. When your gums recede or pull away from your teeth, the tooth roots become exposed, which puts them at greater risk of cavities and tooth decay. 
  • Bad breath: When bacteria accumulates in the gums and between the teeth, you can develop bad breath, or halitosis. 
  • Tooth sensitivity: Receding gums expose your sensitive tooth roots, which can cause discomfort with hot, cold, or sweet foods and impact the enjoyment of eating and drinking. 
  • Systemic health issues: Research suggests a potential link between gum disease and systemic health issues like cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and respiratory infections. Chronic inflammation in the gums may lead to inflammation in other parts of the body. 
  • Difficulty eating and speaking: Gum problems can make eating and speaking uncomfortable for you, and decrease your overall quality of life. 

Better Gum Health with Utah Periodontal Specialists

Good oral health is more than just preventing cavities. Gum health is a major component of taking care of both your mouth and your overall well-being. If you have gum disease, Utah Periodontal Specialists can help. Our scaling and root planing procedures remove tartar and prevent further buildup. With care offered by our skilled team, you’ll receive treatment that is both gentle and effective to improve your overall oral health.