Healthy Gums and Healthy Teeth: How Your Long Island Periodontist Can Help

Every structure in your mouth serves a purpose, and your gums are no exception. What may seem like an insignificant bit of flesh is actually one of the main things keeping your teeth in your mouth and your jawbone whole. Healthy gums support all their adjacent structures--and unhealthy gums can threaten the health of your entire mouth and body. Understanding and caring for your gums is an essential step in keeping your teeth and mouth healthy. Dr. Scharf, a periodontist in Long Island, is an expert in maintaining healthy gums.

The tooth's anchor

The roots of your teeth sit in small wells of bone that define the tooth's place in your mouth. But your teeth don't touch your bone directly. Instead, many parallel strands of connective tissue form the periodontal ligament which fastens your tooth to your bone and prevents it from falling out.

In a healthy mouth, the periodontal ligaments attach to your teeth starting just a few millimeters below the gumline and continuing down to the tips of the tooth roots. But when the gums are damaged by infection, the ligaments are destroyed and gaps begin to form between the gum tissue and the tooth. These periodontal pockets continue to trap bacteria and hold it against the tooth roots, leading to both worsening gum disease and to tooth decay. The gums can also recede from the teeth for other reasons, including irritation, poor brushing technique, age, hormone fluctuations, and general health problems. Any change in your gum tissue, especially signs of disease or receding gums, should be discussed with Dr.Scharf.


Routine brushing is essential, as are regular trips to our office for a check-up and cleaning. If your teeth and gums to fall prey to infection, you'll need the help of a professional to take care of it properly. Call us to schedule an appointment.

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The bone's protector

Your jawbone is the firm foundation for all the other structures of your mouth. But it isn't indestructible. The bone of your jaw can be damaged by infection, or simply recede after a tooth is lost. Your gums are the first layer of defense against these outcomes. Healthy gums help prevent bacteria from reaching the bone, while infected gums and deepened periodontal pockets trap infectious material against the bone. healthy gums also help prevent the loss of teeth which leads to loss of bone. A problem with the gums can spread to even the strongest structures of the mouth, and should not be taken lightly.

The root's covering

Under normal circumstances, your tooth roots aren't exposed to the food and bacteria in your mouth. But when your gums are infected or recede for other reasons, the roots lose their protection, and may begin to accumulate plaque and tartar, which will irritate the gums even more. Over time, cavities can also develop in the roots. These are often more difficult to treat than cavities in more accessible areas, and threaten the nerves running through the root canals.

Defending your gums

There will always be bacteria in your environment and in your mouth. Keeping your gums healthy is not a matter of eliminating bacteria, but of controlling it. The most basic step is to practice good oral hygiene by brushing at least twice a day and flossing daily. it is important to choose a soft-bristled toothbrush, and to use it in a way that doesn't irritate your gumline. Scrubbing your gums too hard can damage them and make them vulnerable to recession or infection.

Routine brushing is essential, but on its own is insufficient. Regular exams to determine the health of your teeth and gums will keep you aware of any problem areas, while periodontal cleanings focus on the health of your gums specifically and remove irritating tartar from below the gumline.

If your gums do become infected, you'll need the help of a professional to make sure the infection is completely dealt with. Dr. Scharf offers cleanings, exams, and advanced gum disease therapies including LANAP laser gum treatment to protect your gums and teeth. If you are interested in scheduling an appointment, contact us online or call our Long Island office. Don't wait! The sooner you start on the path to periodontal health, the easier it will be.