You’d think that with all the emphasis general dentistry in Long Island puts on the teeth that this is the only thing that matters, but nothing could be further from the truth. It’s true that the tooth is the most visible part of the mouth, and that’s one reason why so much care and effort is put into fighting cavities, whitening teeth, and using cosmetic dental options like implants.
But if teeth are the visible “face” of the mouth, it’s the gums that are the anchor. And this is something that any professional of general dentistry in Long Island will tell you. You can’t take care of your teeth and ignore the health of your gums. In order to have a healthy mouth, it’s important to look after the health of both, and here’s why.
An Anchor & A Shield
Gums serve two primary functions in your mouth. The first and most obvious is that they form a “flexible foundation” that helps to keep your teeth solidly in place. Barring physical trauma like taking a fall or blow to the mouth, people who neglect their gums and allow them to become infected might experience a loose tooth—or teeth—that may eventually fall out without treatment.
Your gums also protect the rest of your body from infection. The mouth is the point of contact for the most “foreign matter” in the body, as you put food into it on a daily basis. This means that your teeth and gums get the brunt of exposure to many kinds of bacteria and other contaminants. If the gums become infected with bacteria, this can lead to gingivitis, an early form of gum disease that, if left unchecked, can eventually develop into periodontitis.
Once periodontitis takes hold, it can cause the gums to recede and even weaken the bones in the jaw that both the gums and the teeth are anchored onto. This can lead to the loss of teeth if untreated, or, in very serious cases, infections that spread beyond the mouth and begin to affect general health and well-being.
Total Mouth Care Matters
This is why it’s important to take care of not just the teeth, but the gums around the teeth. Brushing teeth does a good job of cleaning out the plaque on the surface of your teeth, and even some parts of your gum. However, going below the gum line, and getting at spaces between the teeth, especially the gum region there, is best handled by dental floss.
It’s important, just as with brushing teeth, to employ the proper technique when flossing. If you haven’t flossed before, you may even see a little bit of bleeding, but you should not take this as a sign to stop. Rather, it may mean you have some early stages of gingivitis, and by continuing to floss, you are now clearing out the bacteria that is causing this infection, eventually leading to a cessation of bleeding.
And of course, don’t forget to have a regular check up and get professional general dentistry in Long Island. It makes a big difference.