A soft toothbrush and floss: all you need to take care of your gums A soft toothbrush and floss: all you need to take care of your gums

Proper oral hygiene of the gums, whose function is to protect the roots of the teeth, can also affect your overall oral health.

Medical Advisor Lina Marcela Zuleta – Periodontist

Gums are perhaps one of the body’s tissues that we overcompensate for. Because we want to keep them clean, sometimes we can cause injury as we tend to think that the harder we brush, the cleaner we will be, to the point of causing pain or making the gums bleed.

How soft we brush, as well as how soft our brush is, can help reduce potential pain, prevent sensitivity and avoid our roots from being exposed. It is also important to remember to always angle the brush towards the tooth, instead of towards the gums.

“Using dental floss properly also has a significant impact on your health, as it is the only way of reaching the gingival sulcus – the space between the teeth and gums,” as the periodontist, Lina Marcela Zuleta Echeverri from CES University, explains. Over time, this can help prevent the development of diseases such as gingivitis and periodontitis.

Catching the problem on time 

As Zuleta explains, your general dentist can evaluate the condition of your gums during a general checkup, and depending on the outcome of this checkup, can decide whether it is necessary to send a patient to a specialist, in this case, a periodontist.

This evaluation consists of doing an exam with a periodontal probe that can help detect potential diseases in this organ, even with people who appear to have good oral hygiene. During this exam, situations that may call for periodontal plastic surgery may be detected such as when the gums cover the teeth, when the roots are exposed or –for aesthetic reasons – when the gumline in the front of your mouth can be made even to achieve the aesthetic parameters for an acceptable smile.

Why do gums bleed and swell?

Not using dental floss properly makes the remains of food particles between the teeth get stuck there, causing infections and gum disease.

In women, this can occur as a result of hormonal changes, as such changes can affect the gums, making them more sensitive to other stimulus.

Sometimes gums can cover the teeth, which changes their size, one of the consequences of some medications used to treat diseases such as hypertension or epilepsy. (You may be interested: Teeth: more than just part of a nice smile).

Gum diseases

The American Dental Association defines gum disease (also known as periodontal disease) as an infection of the tissues that surround and hold the teeth in. It also states that it is one of the main causes through which adults lose their teeth. Gum disease is often painless, so patients may not know that they have it. The following are some things to keep in mind:

1. The first phase of gum disease is known as gingivitis, when the gums become red, swollen and bleed. Treatment involves a professional cleaning as well as practicing proper hygiene at home.

2. If the disease is not treated in time and progresses, it can cause periodontitis, which is when the tissues begin to disappear along with the bones. This causes the teeth to loosen or move and can happen at any age. Periodontitis can be categorized into chronic and aggressive periodontitis, the latter being the most harmful.