When you think about your oral health, it can be easy to focus on your teeth. However, your gums are also an integral part of not only your oral health, but also your overall well-being. Studies have shown correlations between unhealthy gums and a number of general health concerns, including a heightened risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. This is because bacteria from damaged or infected gums can find their way into your bloodstream, putting your whole body at risk.
So, how can you know that your gums are healthy? Below are the top signs of healthy gums.
Your gums should be a light coral pink, not red or white. To quickly check the condition of your gums tissue, glide a clean finger along your gums; if the gums are firm and painless to the touch, that’s a positive sign. You should also pay attention to your tongue and the inside walls of your mouth, which should also be firm and pink as well.
Although toothpaste, mouthwash, and mints can give your breath a pleasant smell, your breath’s natural odor is far less conspicuous. A healthy mouth has a relatively neutral smell, and any particularly foul odor might be an indication of pockets of bacteria under the gums or tooth decay. If you notice unpleasant smells when you floss, it could also be a sign of unhealthy gums.
Be on alert for heightened sensitivity or bleeding when you brush your teeth. Healthy teeth and gums should not bleed during normal cleaning. If they do, it could indicate gum disease or other serious oral health problems.
Once your adult teeth have fully erupted, all your teeth should be firmly in place. If any of your teeth are loose or wiggle when you chew or speak, it could be a sign of gum disease and an indication that you should consult your dentist.
This also applies to any crowns or fillings that you might have. If any of your dental restorations feel weak or yield to pressure, it could be a sign that they are dislodged and may be harboring plaque and bacteria.
Understanding the signs of healthy gums is a key step in taking care of your oral health. Your first line of defense includes regularly brushing and flossing your teeth, as well as scheduling routine dental appointments. You also make a point of examining your gums for bleeding or discoloration every time you brush or floss. If you notice anything unusual, do not hesitate to contact your dentist.