How Your Gums Affect Your Smile

Smiling with healthy gumsEveryone deserves to feel confident with the appearance of their smile to greet others, laugh, and showcase positive emotions. But with almost half of the United States population over 30 living with gum disease, millions of people aren’t reaching the full potential of their smile’s appearance. 

What Role Do Gums Play In The Mouth?

Gums are just as crucial, if not more important, for the health and appearance of a smile than teeth. Gums are the pink tissue found in the mouth that play a vital role in protecting and supporting the jawbone and teeth from infections and are also responsible for keeping your teeth in place. 

The Impact Of Periodontal Disease Stages On Smiles 

The initial stage of gum disease is called gingivitis. If gingivitis is not treated or resolved quickly, it can progress into more severe periodontal disease over time. When gum disease reaches this level, a periodontal pocket can start to form. Periodontal pockets are gaps and pockets between the teeth that create the perfect breeding ground for bacteria to accumulate. 

Common symptoms of periodontal disease include: 

  • Halitosis, or bad breath 
  • Redness and swollen gums
  • Receding gum line
  • Loose teeth 
  • Spaces between teeth
  • Pain while brushing or flossing

3 Ways Gums Affect Your Smile & How Periodontists Can Help 

When left untreated, gum disease can contribute to a variety of adverse oral health concerns. Here are three ways the mouth’s gums affect the look of a smile and the treatment options available through periodontal professionals: 

#1: Gummy Smile

A gummy smile is when the gum line is more visible than desired due to excess gum tissue covering the teeth. Though gummy smiles aren’t related to gum disease or dangerous, they are a cosmetic concern for a beautiful smile. Periodontists can reduce the “gummy smile” appearance by removing any excess tissue and reshaping the gum through a crown lengthening procedure. 

#2: Gum RecessionGum Disease Illustration

Gum recession is typically caused by severe gum disease when bacteria damages and erodes the tissue of the gum. This damage causes the gum to recede from the root of the tooth and makes teeth appear extra long in your smile. 

To resolve gum recession for both health and cosmetic reasons, a periodontist can complete a root coverage procedure. In this surgery, periodontists place a graft of tissue replacement on the exposed region to mimic the appearance and function of the missing gum.

#3: Missing Teeth

When gum disease becomes severe enough, you run the risk of losing one or more teeth. Losing a tooth in the front of the mouth can seriously impact your smile’s appearance, which is why periodontists offer a variety of artificial replacement options.  

Both dentures and dental implants are popular methods of tooth replacement. Since dental implant surgery involves the insertion of metal posts into the jawbone in place of tooth roots, it is particularly successful in creating the most long-lasting, natural, and sturdy replacement solution. 

How To Keep Gums Looking and Feeling Healthy

Considering gums play such a large role in the health of teeth and the overall body, it is crucial to keep them healthy and free of disease. To avoid the need for expensive and invasive treatments to solve gum issues in the first place, here are two surefire ways to keep gums healthy for years to come: 

#1: Maintain Excellent Oral Hygiene 

Woman visiting periodontist

Oral hygiene is one of the easiest ways to keep pesky bacteria and infection at bay. Be sure to consistently brush twice daily, and don’t forget to floss. Flossing is important to catch any food particles missed by the toothbrush, and significantly reduces the risk for plaque and tartar formation.

Staying up-to-date on your dental check-ups twice a year is the best way to ensure that gum disease doesn’t go unnoticed. 

#2: Avoid Smoking and Tobacco

The harmful effects of cigarette smoke and tobacco wreak havoc on your health in more ways than one. Since smoke contributes to dry mouth, food particles and plaque aren’t washed away as easily throughout the day, smokers have twice the risk for gum disease than nonsmokers. To protect your mouth and overall health, try curbing this unhealthy habit. 

Improve Smiles and Gum Health With Central Texas Periodontics

If you have symptoms of gum disease, receiving periodontal disease treatment is an absolute must for maintaining a beautiful and healthy smile. 

Central Texas Periodontics have been leaders in improving the health and appearance of gums since 2006. Whether it’s gum disease treatment, a dental implant procedure, a bone or gum graft, or another oral health concern, this team of periodontal professionals is well-equipped to help patients achieve their perfect smile.