What Can You Do About Your Gum Health Right Now

Gum health is as vital as teeth health. Although keeping the teeth in their best condition is necessary, disregarding its surrounding areas is also bad for oral health.

Gums surround the teeth, provide resistance against the friction from food consumption, and act as effective barrier and support to the bones. However, the gums can only do all these when they are healthy.

When does the gum become unhealthy?

Gums become unhealthy when periodontal disease occurs. Also called as gum disease, periodontal disease is characterized by an infection of the surrounding and supporting tissues and bones of the teeth.

Gum disease can be mild or severe. When the infection is in its mild form which is called gingivitis, no bone loss or tissue is involved. Proper oral hygiene can aid in reversing the disease as plaque and tartar which linger on the teeth causes bacteria to proliferate and inflame the gums.

On the other hand, severe or advanced gum disease which is known as periodontitis can lead to damage to the gums, tissues, and bones when untreated. When periodontitis happens, pockets which result from the gums pulling away and forming spaces become infected.


What causes gum disease?

There are several factors which can cause gum disease or increase its likelihood. Hormonal changes in women, medical conditions like diabetes and AIDS, medications, genetic susceptibility, poor oral hygiene, unhealthy eating habits, and lifestyle habits like smoking can increase the risk of periodontal disease.

What are the indications of gum disease?

Symptoms of the periodontal disease can include sensitive teeth, pus coming from the gums, loose teeth, bad breath, pain when chewing, receding gums, and bleeding gums.

When these symptoms mentioned above are observed, consult your dentist immediately. Although exhibiting those signs does not automatically suggest gum disease, paying your dentist a visit will not hurt as he or she can confirm the cause of those symptoms.


How does my dentist check my gums for possible periodontal disease?

During your dental visit, the dentist or hygienist will check your medical records first to get an overview of your health condition. Reviewing your health records is necessary to identify the best course of treatment for you and your risk factors that might have contributed to the symptoms exhibited.

Your gums will be inspected using a probe which will check and measure any spaces or pockets on your gums. A dental X-ray may also be performed to see if there was bone loss.

Your dentist can also refer you to a dental specialist who is an expert in the diagnosis and treatment of periodontal disease. This dental specialist is called a periodontist.

What can I do to prevent gum disease?

Practicing proper oral hygiene is key to avoiding gum disease and other dental problems. By brushing your teeth, flossing, and rinsing with mouthwash, you remove lingering food particles, combat bacteria, and prevent the build-up of plaque. When proper oral hygiene is ignored, the likelihood of bacteria infecting the gums increases.

Also, include healthy foods in your diet to strengthen gum health. Quitting smoking and minimizing alcohol consumption are also helpful in reducing the risk of gum disease.

Why You Should Think Twice Before Nail-Biting

Anyone can develop the habit of nail-biting. Statistics reported that about half of children ten years old to 18 years old bite their nails, a habit that usually starts during puberty.

By age 18 to 22, the percentage of nail-biters decrease, while a smaller portion of adults succumbs to the habit. Usually, nail-biters stop at the age of 30.

Also known as onychophagia, nail biting is considered an oral compulsive habit (repeated movements involving the mouth) and a parafunctional activity (a habitual exercise of a body part, in this case, the mouth, in a manner different from what it is commonly used for).

Some studies report that children whose parents were or are nail-biters are more likely to develop the habit whether their the parents stopped nail-biting before their birth.

It is also a common habit usually done during a period of anxiety, boredom, inactivity, excitement, and stress, and associated with an emotional or psychological disorder as a symptom.

However, onychophagia is not always stress-induced as a lot of individuals bite their nails even when doing recreational activities like socializing, conversing, watching television, or reading.

Nail biting does not typically lead to serious side effects or permanent damages. Still, the habit has its disadvantages that can be harmful to the health.

  • Bad-looking nails. Perfect-looking nails will not be a possibility if you bite your nails because the habit harms the tissues around the nails, resulting in abnormal-looking nails. A long-time habit of nail-biting can also deform the nails and break the skin on the cuticle.
  • Embarrassment. Since nail-biting damages the appearance of your nails, it can cause distress and affect your daily activities including writing in public places, using your smartphone, or when drinking.
  • Dental problems. Nail biting does not only affect the aesthetics of your nails and cause you embarrassment, but the habit can pose problems on oral health. When you bite your nails, you increase the tendency of chipping, cracking, and breaking your teeth. It can also lead to jaw problems, gingival injury, and malocclusion of the anterior teeth as the tooth sockets can be deformed. Through nail-biting, bacteria and pinworms found on the surface of the nail can transfer to the mouth and trigger periodontal diseases.
  • Illnesses. Aside from the oral health, the habit of nail-biting can also be problematic for the body. As nails are not as hygienic as we intend them to be, germs can linger on the nails, get into the mouth, and may travel down to other parts of the body. The habit also causes skin damage that provides an easy way for germs to enter your body. What is more dangerous is when you bite and eat your nails, making your stomach pay the price of your habit.

Stopping a habit like nail-biting is not easy and may need time to break it entirely. Still, there are methods you can do to stop the nail-biting habit.

You can try cutting your nails short so that your teeth will not have enough nail to bite. You can also use bitter-flavored nail polish to give your nails a terrible taste and make you hesitate to take a bite.

Also, you can wear gloves or keep your hands and mouth busy to drift your mind away from the desire to bite your nails. It will also be helpful to root your triggers and resolve it from there.