Ways to Improve Gum Health
Did you know that your gum health can directly affect the health of your teeth? When you consider the fact that the gums are one of the main structures responsible for holding your teeth in their correct position, it makes sense that the health of both is so closely related. Peiple with healthy gums are more likely to have healthy teeth, while people with problems like gum disease are more likely to have teeth that are decayed, loose, or missing.
Unfortunately, gum disease is prevalent among Americans over the age of 30 and the CDC estimates that as many as 47.2% of adults are affected. In the early stage of gum disease, known as gingivitis, there may only be mild symptoms such as gums that bleed easily and appear darker than normal. Although gingivitis can be reversed with treatment, many people don’t even realize they have gingivitis. Without treatment, gingivitis can progress into the advanced form of gum disease known as periodontitis. As gum disease gets worse, the gums will start to pull away from the teeth and bone resorption can occur in the jawbone.
Simply stated, advanced gum disease is nothing you want to mess with. Therefore, it is important to take care of your gums in order to keep them as healthy as possible. Proper gum care can prevent gum disease or it can manage cases of gum disease to prevent them from getting worse. Here are some effective ways to improve or maintain your gum health:
Brush Twice a Day
Brushing your teeth twice a day helps to remove excess plaque from the surface of your teeth. It is also recommended to brush after meals to remove the food debris that bacteria feed on. When you are brushing, be sure to use fluoridated toothpaste and brush for at least two minutes, thoroughly around each tooth. It may also be beneficial to use an electric toothbrush, especially if you struggle with brushing. Regardless of whether you use a manual or electric toothbrush, it is also important to remember to switch out your brush or brush head every 3-4 months.
While brushing removes plaque from the surface of your teeth, there are certain places that your toothbrushes will likely miss, like along the gum line and between your teeth. For this reason, it is also important to floss once a day to remove plaque and bacteria from these hard to reach areas. The best time to floss your teeth is prior to bedtime, just before you brush. This is because removing debris from in between your teeth allows the fluoride from your toothpaste to get into those hard to reach areas.
Schedule Regular Dental Cleanings
Although brushing twice a day and flossing once a day helps to remove excess plaque from your mouth in order to prevent gum disease, you will still need to schedule dental cleanings at least once every six months. If you have already been diagnosed with gum disease, then your dentist may also recommend more frequent cleanings. Professional dental cleanings are necessary because they allow your dentist to remove plaque from areas you may have missed. Additionally, plaque that has hardened into tartar can only be removed during a dental cleaning.
Over the counter mouthwashes are designed to decrease the risk of gum disease by making it harder for plaque and tartar to form on the surface of your teeth. While mouthwash should never be used as a replacement for regular brushing and flossing, it can be used as a supplemental practice to keep your mouth clean, especially after meals.
Smoking is problematic for a variety of reasons. When it comes to your gum health, smoking not only significantly increases your risk of gum disease, but it impairs your gum’s ability to heal once affected. To improve your oral and overall health, it is strongly recommended to quit smoking.