Oral hygiene is crucial. Many people assume that it ends in having clean and sparkling white teeth. However, gum health is a big part of oral hygiene. Taking care of your gums is essential for your overall oral hygiene. Gum diseases can be problematic. At our family dental clinic in Austin, we help you get the best gum health. It is never too late to start taking care of your gums.
What is gum disease?
Gum disease starts when plaque builds up under and along the gum line. Plaque is a sticky film-like substance that’s filled with bacteria. It can cause infections that hurt the gum and bone, leading to gum disease and tooth decay. Plaque also can cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Gingivitis causes your gums to become:
- prone to bleeding
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), signs that you might have gum disease include:
- consistently bad taste or breath
- separating or losing permanent teeth
- gums that easily bleed
- gums that are swollen, red, or tender
- gums that have pulled away from your teeth
Gum disease is preventable. Here are a few ways you can help keep your gums healthy.
Floss at least once a day. This helps remove the plaque and food that’s beyond your toothbrush’s reach. It doesn’t matter when you floss. Any time of the day should do wonders.
2. Get regular dental cleanings
A good dentist can detect early gum disease symptoms if you see them regularly. That way symptoms can be treated before they become more serious. Professional dental cleaning is the only way to remove tartar. It can also get rid of any plaque you missed when brushing or flossing. If you have gingivitis, brushing, flossing, and regular dental cleanings can help reverse it.
3. Quit smoking
Smoking is strongly associated with the onset of gum disease. Since smoking weakens your immune system, it also makes it harder to fight off a gum infection. Smoking makes it more difficult for your gums to heal once they’ve been damaged.
4. Brush twice a day
Brush your teeth correctly after every meal. This helps remove the food and plaque trapped between your teeth and gums. Scrub your tongue too, since it can harbor bacteria. Your toothbrush should have soft bristles and fit in your mouth comfortably.
Consider a battery-powered or electric toothbrush. These can help reduce gingivitis and plaque more than manual brushing. Swap toothbrushes or toothbrush heads every three to four months, or sooner if the bristles start to fray.
5. Use fluoride toothpaste
As for toothpaste, store shelves are lined with brands that claim to reduce gingivitis, freshen breath, and whiten teeth. How do you know which one is best for healthy gums? Make sure to choose toothpaste that contains fluoride and has the ADA seal of acceptance. After that, the flavor and color are up to you!
6. Use a therapeutic mouthwash
Therapeutic mouthwashes can help reduce plaque, prevent or reduce gingivitis, reduce the speed at which tarter develops, or a combination of these benefits. A rinse helps remove food particles and debris from your mouth, though it’s not a substitute for flossing or brushing.