We hardly think beyond the teeth when we hear of oral hygiene. Most times, what comes to mind when we think of our oral health is the teeth. However, you must understand that the whole of your mouth is integral to your oral health. Your gums and tongue must also be taken care of; they must not be overlooked. If you think you have good oral health just because you got a glowing white smile or because you don’t have cavities, you may be deceiving yourself. Without paying attention to your gum, you may soon get creeped up with gum disease. But what is gum disease? Read on as we explain to you what gum disease is and how you can avoid it.
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is a bacteria infection that occurs when tartar and plaque buildup around the gum line, causing the gums to become inflamed. This disease which initially begins as gingivitis can lead to tooth loss and decay if left unchecked. It can also result in a host of health issues like heart disease and stroke. There are different signs that can show if you have gum disease; they include bad breath, red or swollen gums, gums getting smaller, easy bleeding when brushing or flossing, etc. Gum disease or gingivitis can be avoided by keeping your gums healthy and happy. But how can you keep your gums healthy and happy? If you are curious to find out, don’t stop reading this piece.
Tips to Keep Your Gums Healthy and Happy
We have already mentioned that failure to take care of your gums can lead to gum disease. To prevent gum disease infection, you must adopt techniques or practices that will defend your gums. The best practices to keep your gums healthy and happy are:
1. Floss daily
Flossing is one of the simplest and most effective ways of fighting against gum disease. It helps to keep your gums healthy. It is recommended by the American Dental Association (ADA) that you floss at least once a day. Flossing will help remove food particles from between your teeth (those your toothbrush couldn’t get to). It doesn’t matter the time you floss, what’s most important is that you do it. You can floss in the morning, at night, or after lunch.
2. Get regular dental cleanings
Also important in the fight against gum disease is for you to go for regular dental checkups and cleanings. Dentists can diagnose early signs of gingivitis if you see them regularly. If the symptoms are seen early, it makes it easier to treat or fight the disease. Once the early signs are not paid attention to, they grow and become a more serious problem. To remove tartar and plaques that could not be reached during flossing or brushing, professional cleaning is recommended. So, going for regular dental checkups and cleanings is another practice you can adopt to keep your gums healthy and happy. In addition to flossing and brushing, regular dental cleanings can also help reverse gingivitis.
3. Quit smoking
Smoking is another cause of gum disease. It weakens your immune system, thereby making it possible for bacteria to grow fast in your mouth. When your immune system is weakened, it becomes harder for it to fight off infection (gum disease infection is no exception). Another reason why you must quit smoking is that smoking makes it difficult for your gums to heal once they are damaged. So, another practice you can adopt in keeping your gums healthy and happy is to avoid or quit smoking.
4. Brush at least twice a day
Brushing your teeth at least twice a day is another practice that can help you avoid plaque buildup and the eventual development of gingivitis. A good brushing practice you can adopt is to brush after every meal. If this is too taxing for you to do, you can do it in the morning and at night. Brushing after every meal will help to remove food particles that are trapped between your teeth and gums. If you choose to brush in the night, it is best to do it before you go to bed – when you are done eating for the day. This will ensure that you are not going to bed with food particles in your mouth.
As you brush your teeth, also remember to scrub your tongue. This is because your tongue too can harbor bacteria. Use a toothbrush that has soft bristles for brushing. Your toothbrush should also fit comfortably in your mouth. You can consider an electric toothbrush or a battery-powered toothbrush. They are better at reducing plaque and gingivitis than the manual toothbrush. Finally, swap your toothbrush heads every 3-4 months. Do this sooner if their bristles start to fray.
5. Use fluoride toothpaste
There are so many brands of toothpaste that claims to whiten teeth, freshen breath, and reduces gingivitis. But how do you know if these kinds of toothpaste work for healthy gums? Well, you can’t know unless you give it a try. To avoid doing trial and error, you can get a fluoridated toothpaste that is ADA approved. A fluoridated toothpaste helps to strengthen the enamel. It also keeps your mouth clean.
6. Use a therapeutic mouthwash
According to the ADA, therapeutic mouthwashes are helpful in reducing plaque, reducing the speed at which tarter develops, preventing or reducing gingivitis, or a combination of all these benefits. Additionally, a rinse is helpful in removing food particles and debris from the mouth. Therapeutic mouthwashes should not substitute your brushing or flossing. It doesn’t matter whether you choose to brush, rinse, or floss first. What is important is that you do them and with the right products. Only buy a therapeutic mouthwash that is deemed safe and effective – one that has the ADA seal.
Keeping your gums healthy and happy is something you should take seriously. If you don’t, you may see the consequence in the form of gum disease. It is not so difficult keeping your gums healthy and happy; just adopt the practices mentioned above. As a reminder, these practices are: flossing daily, getting regular dental checkups, quitting smoking, brushing at least twice a day, using fluoride toothpaste, and using a therapeutic mouthwash. Adopting these practices will help improve the health of your gum significantly and thus, reduce the risk of you developing gum disease.