Having a healthy mouth doesn’t only mean having straight white teeth that shine brightly when you smile. It also means you take care of your gums. Many people tend to forget about their gums when it comes to oral health. What most people don’t remember is that to have healthy teeth, healthy gums are required.
Good oral hygiene is crucial to prevent and treat gum disease. You have to remember that you are not immune to gum disease and gum disease happens when there’s a build-up of plaque along your gum line. Gum disease can lead to tooth decay and even worse, cancer. The earliest stage of gum disease is known as gingivitis. This condition can cause your gums to become tender, red, swollen, inflamed, and prone to bleeding. However, since gingivitis does not impact the bone and tissue that holds the teeth in place, this condition is reversible. The advanced form of gum disease is periodontitis, which impacts the bones holding your teeth in place and can ruin the bones, tissues, gums, connected to your teeth if left untreated. Poor oral hygiene can also lead to receding gums.
It is best to know the signs of gum disease. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), the symptoms are:
- Loose permanent teeth
- Easily bleed gums
- Swollen and red gums
- Gums pulled away from your teeth
- Bad taste and bad breath that is consistent.
Gum disease is preventable and fortunately, it is fairly easy to maintain your gums. The following are some easy things you can do to keep your gums healthy.
Know the Proper Way to Brush Your Teeth
Did you know? There is a proper way to brush your teeth so you can remove food and plaque that is trapped between your teeth and gums effectively. According to ADA, the recommended technique to brush your teeth is:
- Make sure to place your brush at a 45-degree angle to your gums
- Move your brush back and forth gently, in short strokes
- Brush the inner surfaces, the outer surfaces, and don’t forget the chewing surfaces of your teeth
- Tilt your brush vertically and make up-and-down strokes to clean the inside surfaces of your front teeth.
You need to brush your teeth twice a day and scrub your tongue. Other than brushing your teeth properly, you also need the right toothbrush. Make sure the shape and size of the brush fit your mouth so it can reach every area easily. You should replace your toothbrush after three or four months, or as soon as the bristles are frayed.
Use the Right Toothpaste
There are various brands of toothpaste out there that claim to freshen your breath, whiten your teeth, and reduce gingivitis. However, the best toothpaste is the ones that contain fluoride. Don’t worry, the flavor and color are completely up to you.
Most people neglect daily flossing because they don’t think it’s important. The truth is, daily flossing is an essential part of oral care. Do it at least once a day because it removes food between your teeth and gums, especially in the areas that your toothbrush can’t reach. If the food and plaque stay in those areas, it can result in a hard build-up known as tartar, which can lead to gum disease.
There are two types of mouthwash available over the counter: therapeutic and cosmetic. The best one you need is therapeutic mouthwash. It can help prevent gingivitis, prevent gum disease, reduce plaque on your teeth, and remove food particles from your mouth. One thing you should remember is that mouthwash is not a replacement for brushing and flossing. It does not matter which one you do first, but you need to practice all three to maintain healthy gums and teeth. However, do remember that mouthwash is not suitable for children under the age of 6.
Smoking is strongly linked to the onset of gum disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), smoking can weaken your immune system, which makes you a lot more susceptible to gum disease. It also makes it harder for your gums to heal once they’ve been damaged even though you’ve had treatment. To help reduce the risk of gum disease, it is recommended to quit smoking.
Attend Regular Dental Checkups
For some people, going to the dentist is scary. But dental checkups are very important. Your dentist can detect the earliest symptoms of gum disease if you attend your appointment regularly. A dental checkup also includes professional dental cleaning, which is the only technique to remove tartar. It can also help to remove plaque that you may have missed when you brush your teeth.
Incorporate Food That Can Help Improve Dental Health
What you eat affects your oral health. Foods that can improve the health of your gums and teeth are:
- Fruits and vegetables that are high in fibre because they can help clean out your mouth
- Foods that contain fluorides, such as water and some seafood products
- Sugar-free gum because it can help increase your saliva production
- Black or green tea as this help reduce bacteria in your mouth
- Dairy products to increase your saliva production.
These steps are easy to follow, but many people are lazy because they think that it takes a lot of their time. When you are feeling lazy, remember that oral health is important and doing this routine will save you from a lot of trouble (and pain!).