You’re probably familiar with the “brush your teeth” routine that every parent teaches their child. It comes with an explanation of what your teeth do and why they need to be kept in good shape. But how often do we talk about the importance of our gums?

Though they get hidden behind a notable smile, it turns out that your gums are a very important part of keeping your teeth healthy and functioning. So when the dentist talks to you about keeping them in good shape, take note.

All About Your Gums

Similar to the way your skin protects all the bones, muscles, and organs in your body, your gums serve as a barrier to contain and protect your teeth and jaws. In fact, your gums, in partnership with periodontal ligaments and the surrounding tissue, help the bone of your jaws to support your teeth.

How do they support your teeth? They keep your teeth in place, stabilizing them as you talk and chew and drink and spit. Just think, if you didn’t have gums or they were badly damaged, it would be very easy for your teeth to fall out!

They also help out by absorbing pressure and strengthening your teeth as you chew so your teeth can keep breaking down food before you swallow it.

Keeping Your Gums Healthy

A great incentive for keeping your gums healthy is keeping your risk low for serious diseases like respiratory infections, cardiovascular disease, and other degenerative diseases, as they are associated with gum disease and poor gum health.

But the real battleground for you is in the everyday care of your teeth and gums. Without regular brushing, plaque can build up on your teeth, causing your gums to become swollen. If you’ve ever had your gums bleed when brushing or flossing your teeth, you’ll know this is a result of your gums becoming tender and vulnerable.

It’s also important to make sure you’re not being too hard on your teeth when you care for them because aggressive brushing and poor hygiene can both hurt your gums, causing them to recede. And if your gums begin to recede, your teeth aren’t getting the support and protection they need either. 

So don’t forget that your gums are just as important to your smile and your health as those pearly whites are. Take the time to properly brush your teeth twice daily with a soft bristle brush, as well as flossing daily, so your teeth will stick around for years to come.