Healthy Teeth Deserve Healthy Gums

By Dr. Alex Chou from New York Dental Clinic 2019-11-22 14:29:22

What is gum disease?
Gum disease, or more properly known as periodontal disease, is an infection in the soft and hard tissues surrounding and supporting infrastructures of our teeth. This is often caused by oral plaque and calculus (or tartar) accumulation which help to create toxins that can cause gum damage and bone loss. Research has even been shown to suggest that gum disease is also correlated with other health issues like diabetes and heart problems.

Although gum disease is common in many adults, conditions such as juvenile periodontitis (an early onset stage of gum disease) and gingivitis, are also commonly seen in children and teenagers. As the development of gum disease is a slow and ongoing process, many patients are not aware of its presence in its early stage.

Signs of gum disease:

• Bleeding gums during tooth brushing, flossing, or upon palpation.

• Swollen and bright red gums.

• Gums that have receded away leaving the roots exposed.

• Constant bad breath that does not clear up with brushing and flossing.


What can I do to prevent gum disease?
1. Brush and floss your teeth
Both of these habits are crucial to oral health. Brushing helps remove food debris left in your mouth, and flossing helps to dislodge food and plaque that are stuck between your teeth.

2. Eat a balanced diet
Following a diet high in sugar, or frequently snacking during the day, raises the level of acidity in your mouth which not only leads to gum erosion but also creates the perfect environment for cavity-causing bacteria to thrive.

3. Drink more water

Drinking water regularly can rinse away food debris in the mouth and decrease acidity in oral cavities.

4. Quit or avoid smoking

Using tobacco can irritate gums and bones which can then lead to bone loss and gum loss.

5. Use mouthwash regularly
This reduces gum inflammation and prevents the build-up of plaque.

6. Maintain regular dental visits

Regular dental checkups that include periodontal examination, scaling (teeth cleaning), and teeth polishing, can help prevent gum disease and allow gum tissues to heal and reattach to teeth.


Can getting braces help prevent gum disease?
Conditions such as malocclusion (improper bite), and crooked teeth can make it hard to maintain good oral hygiene due to bacteria buildup. Your orthodontist may recommend wearing braces as they can help to prevent gum disease through bite correction and the straightening of crooked teeth. For patients with a history of gum disease, orthodontists may recommend the use of invisible braces (or clear braces) as the clear trays are fully removable and allow direct access to teeth brushing and flossing. However, if you currently have active or acute gum disease avoid getting braces until your teeth and gums are in good condition. To find out which treatment would be most beneficial to you visit an orthodontist.


Dr. Alex Chou


Director, New York Dental Clinic
Dr. Alex Chou is Director of New York Dental. Dr. Chou holds dual specialties in both Orthodontics (PhD) and Periodontics (MS). Besides clinical practice, Dr. Chou devotes his time in teaching and research. Dr. Chou is currently the clinical professor at Catholic University in South Korea and the honorary professor in Fudan University in China.

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