Gum health is an often neglected part of our oral hygiene routines, but its importance cannot be overstated. Maintaining proper gum health not only makes our mouths cleaner overall, but it also helps in the prevention of some pretty serious diseases and infections. The unfortunate reality, however, is that 2 out of 5 Americans have some form of periodontitis or gum disease.
So what’s the key to healthy gums, and how can you incorporate some basic routines into your daily cleaning to stay away from gum infections? Since September is National Gum Care Month, here are some crucial gum care tips for you to keep in mind.
Why Healthy Gums Matter
So how do healthy gums prevent diseases such as gingivitis or periodontitis? Our mouths are home to millions of bacteria, some good and some bad. When there is an overwhelming amount of bad bacteria present as a result of improper oral hygiene, periodontal gum pockets and plaque can begin to accumulate, which paves the way for these diseases to form. Other conditions that can form as a result of poor gum health include:
- Inflamed gums that may contain pus
- Red and bleeding gums
- Increased pain while chewing
- Severe bad breath
- Constant dull pain
- Receding gums
- Loose teeth
- Bone loss
- Tooth loss
- Increased risk of heart disease
Gum Care Tips
There are a number of important gum care tips that you can incorporate into your daily oral routine to lower your risk of gum disease and other ailments. These practices include:
- Extra Care When Brushing Teeth – Brushing our teeth regularly is the most basic oral hygiene practice of them all, but many people still don’t brush their teeth the correct way on a daily basis. For the most optimal clean, it’s advised to brush twice a day, for two minutes each time. You can divide this as 30 seconds per each quadrant of your mouth, making sure to scrub both the front and the back in a circular motion. Holding the brush at a 45-degree angle also makes sure you properly clean the gum line. Finally, electric toothbrushes are a game changer, as they give a more thorough clean and do a lot of the work for you.
- Use Fluoride Toothpaste – Fluoride toothpaste helps fight against bacteria and tooth decay, and provides a much better clean than standard types.
- Floss Regularly – It may seem like a chore, but flossing at least once a day is a surefire way to maintain optimal gum health. Flossing helps remove food and plaque from between our teeth and along the gum line, keeping our mouths clean and fresh.
- Use Antibacterial Mouthwash – The last step in your daily oral routine should be to rinse your mouth out with antibacterial mouthwash. This rinses out any lingering food or plaque, and will help your teeth fight against bad bacteria during the day.
- No Smoking – Smoking tobacco regularly can greatly contribute to gum disease. It also weakens your immune system, making it harder to fight off infections.
- Maintain Healthy Diet – Certain foods and drinks, often those with lots of sugar and acids, can also contribute to plaque buildup and infections. Eat plenty of good foods like fruits and vegetables to avoid this buildup of acids that can wear down the teeth.
Healthy Gums Vs. Unhealthy Gums
It can be difficult to know how to tell if your gums are healthy, even when following these gum care tips. An easy way to check is by looking for a healthy gum color. Healthy gums will be pink and firm, while unhealthy gums can be red, swollen, or even soft to the touch. If you notice an abnormal color to your gums, or you are experiencing any ailments such as bleeding, soreness, or difficulty eating, it’s best to schedule an appointment with your dentist for a regular cleaning.
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