When it comes to oral health, many people forget about the important role their gums play. This soft tissue in your mouth acts as a protective barrier against harmful disease-causing bacteria. Additionally, since your gums act as a defense structure for the jaw bone holding all of your teeth in place, untreated gum disease can cause your teeth to become loose and eventually fall out. No body wants that. So understanding how to keep your gums healthy is absolutely essential.
The good thing is that there are a variety of preventive measures you can take to reduce your risk of infection and ensure your gums stay as healthy as ever. Read on to see the top eight ways to keep your gums healthy.
What is Gum Disease?
Before diving deeper into the best ways to keep your gums healthy, it’s important to understand what gum disease is to begin with. To put it simply, gum disease begins when plaque builds up under and along your gum line. Plaque is a bacteria-filled sticky coating that forms on the teeth. It can cause infections in the gums and bones, which can ultimately lead to more serious problems like gum disease and tooth decay.
Gingivitis is the earliest stage of gum disease and can cause your gums to become:
● Brighter or red
● And prone to bleeding
The good news is that this stage of gum disease can be completely reversible if you keep your gums healthy with good hygiene and healthy habits. However, if left untreated, it can develop into Periodontitis. This is a more severe form of gum disease that directly impacts the gums, bones, and tissues that hold your teeth into place. The final stage of gum disease is Advanced Periodontitis, where the fibers and bones connected to your teeth are completely destroyed.
The American Dental Association (ADA) and Perio.org have compiled a lists of additional warning signs of gum disease you should look out for:
● Gums that have pulled away from your teeth
● Consistent bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth
● Permanent adult teeth that are loosening or separating
● Any changes in the way your teeth fit together when you bite down
● Change in the fit of your partial dentures
In order to keep your gums healthy and avoid reaching a severe stage of gum disease, our expert dental team in Dunwoody, GA, recommend incorporating the following simple and easy 8 ways to keep your gums healthy into your daily routine.
1. Floss Daily
This is one of the absolute best ways to keep your gums healthy. Flossing is one of the most effective forms of preventative dental care, so it’s important to take the time to floss at least once per day. Plaque, food, and bacteria can get trapped between your teeth, irritating your gums and eventually leading to Gingivitis, the early stages of gum disease. In addition, flossing helps target those hard-to-reach places that your toothbrush can’t get to. The best part is, it doesn’t matter what time of day you floss – just as long as you do it daily! This is definitely one of the, if not the best way to keep your gums healthy.
For best results, it’s crucial to floss slowly and thoroughly to remove the plaque and tartar from the small gaps between your teeth and your gumline.
Check this other helpful page to learn more about the correct way to floss your teeth.
2. Use the Right Toothbrush
The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends using a soft-bristled toothbrush when cleaning your teeth and to keep your gums healthy. It’s crucial that the size and shape of the brush can fit comfortably in your mouth to ensure you can reach all areas as efficiently as possible. It’s also essential to replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months or even earlier if the bristles lose their stiffness or look frayed. An old or worn toothbrush loses its effectiveness and won’t clean your teeth properly, causing damage to your gums in the process.
Brushing your teeth daily is one of the other most effective ways to keep your gums healthy.
3. Use Fluoride Toothpaste
Fluoride isn’t only great for preventing cavities; it also helps fight harmful bacteria that could damage your gums. This naturally occurring mineral is antimicrobial and protects your mouth and keeps your gums healthy from gum disease by killing unwanted oral bacteria. When purchasing your toothpaste, it’s important to check that it contains fluoride and has the ADA seal of approval on the box. For best results, it’s imperative that you brush your teeth with this toothpaste two or more times a day in order to keep your gums healthier.
4. Brush Your Teeth Properly
This in combination with points #2 and #3 above is easily if not the at least one of the two most effective ways to keep your gums healthy. Contrary to popular belief, there is a correct way to brush your teeth. The ADA recommends the following brushing technique:
● Tilt your tooth brush at a 45-degree angle to your gums.
● Gently move your tooth brush back and forth in small strokes.
● Make sure to brush every part of your tooth, including the outer surfaces, the inner surfaces, and the chewing surfaces.
● To easily clean the inner surfaces of your front teeth, just tilt your toothbrush vertically and make several up and down motions.
Check these other helpful pages to learn more about the best way to bush your teeth and the correct way to floss your teeth. It’s essential to clean your teeth at least twice a day and for 2 minutes each time as a preventative measure to keep your gums healthy and keep gum disease at bay.
5. Use a Therapeutic antibacterial Mouthwash
Rinsing your mouth with mouthwash is one of the other critical ways to keep your gums healthy. The ADA notes that you can generally find two different types of mouthwash
available for purchase: cosmetic and therapeutic.
Therapeutic mouthwash is able to assist with:
● Preventing gingivitis and gum disease
● Removing food particles from your mouth
● Controlling and reducing plaque
● Bad breath and tooth decay
Therapeutic mouthwash is available both over the counter and by prescription. It’s essential to check that the bottle has the ADA Seal of Acceptance which guarantees the company provided scientific evidence demonstrating the safety and efficacy of the product.
For best results, use mouthwash twice per day after brushing and flossing your teeth to keep your gums healthy.
6. Get Regular Dental Cleanings
It’s crucial to schedule regular dental check-ups and teeth cleanings to reduce your chances of developing gum disease. Your dentist can detect symptoms of early gum disease and help you create a plan to keep your gums healthy and improve your gum health and decrease your risk of the disease advancing to a more severe stage. It’s worth noting that professional cleaning is the only way to remove tartar. Additionally, it can help get rid of plaque and food you may have missed through brushing and flossing. Throughout the early stage of gum disease, a combination of regular dental cleanings, flossing, and brushing can help reverse Gingivitis and restore your gums to tip-top health.
We suggest visiting your dentist every six months; however, if you have dental or gum issues, it’s recommended that you visit your dentist more frequently, at least once every 3-4 months to ensure the best oral health.
If you need to schedule a dental check-up and cleaning, then don’t hesitate to call our Dunwoody dentist office at (770) 452-0222. Our friendly team will help you schedule an appointment at a time that is most convenient for you.
7. Eat a Balanced Diet
Maintaining a balanced diet is a key factor in keeping your gums healthy. This is probably one of the most easily missed ways to keep your gums healthy. The bacteria in your mouth feed on sugary and starchy food, which allows them to release harmful acids that attack both your tooth enamel and gums. In addition, junk food such as candy, sodas, potato chips, and more are high in extra sugars and starch, which can damage your gums with regular consumption.
Some of the best foods and drinks that support gum health include:
● Fiber-rich fruits and vegetables
● Milk, yogurt, and dairy
● Green and black teas
● Fish and meat
● Whole grains
● Sugar-free gum
Opting for healthy, nutrient-rich food can help prevent a build-up of plaque, in turn keeping your teeth strong and healthy and to keep your gums healthy and avoid any oral health problems as much as possible.
8. Quit Smoking
It goes without saying that smoking can be detrimental to your overall health, but did you know it can damage your gums too? Yes, if you truly want to follow all the ways to keep your gums healthy, you must quit smoking or using any tobacco products that involves your mouth. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a smoker has twice the risk for gum disease compared to a non-smoker. Not only does smoking weaken your immune system, making it harder to fight off a gum infection, but it also makes it more difficult for your gums to heal once there is damage.
So one of the best ways to decrease your risk for gum disease is to quit smoking altogether. This is a proven effective way to keep your gums healthy.
When to See a Dentist
If you’re due for a dental check-up or you’re experiencing any unusual symptoms and think you may have gum disease, you should schedule a dental check-up right away. Our Plunkett & Chaw Atlanta area dental office can help you book an appointment at a time that works best for you.
Our dental check-up procedure is designed to make you feel comfortable and relaxed. If scheduling an appointment at our Dunwoody dental office, you can expect the following:
● Our friendly staff will greet you and check that everything is ready to begin.
● We will take images of both your teeth and gums to see if there are potential infections or decay hiding under the surface.
● We’ll perform a thorough examination of your individual teeth and gums, inspecting for signs of infection, tooth decay, gum disease, and oral cancer.
● If we discover any of these problems, we’ll discuss treatment options and may even be able to tend to minor issues that same day.
● Lastly, we will clean your teeth and remove any lingering plaque or bacteria in your mouth.
Our experienced team at our Dunwoody, GA, dental office will go the extra mile to provide you with the highest level of care and efficiency during your next dentist visit. Call us at (770) 452-0222 or fill out our contact form to request an appointment today!