The key to the perfect smile is not just clean teeth, it’s healthy gums too. Anybody can suffer from gum disease; as it can be completely painless, it’s important to not forget about your gums.
Why Should I Look After My Gum Health?
Just like the rest of your body, gums need looking after too! Healthy gums are a huge part of having healthy teeth and mouth, after all, they do work together. Gums protect your teeth and stop germs from breeding in your mouth, as they act as a protective barrier, keeping teeth in place and bacteria out. Without good gum hygiene, gum disease could become a more serious problem.
What Is Gum Disease?
In the beginning, gum disease can be shown through bleeding gums, and this stage is called gingivitis. However, it’s not all bad news, as all of this can be prevented by good brushing and flossing habits.
If gingivitis remains untreated, it can develop into a more serious gum disease, which is harder to treat.
According to the NHS, the symptoms of gum disease are as follows:
- Red and swollen gums
- Bad breath (halitosis)
- Unpleasant taste
- Loose teeth, which can disrupt regular eating habits
- Areas of pus underneath gums or teeth
Luckily, any damage to your gums can be reversed by following these five simple steps.
1. Brushing Teeth For Two Minutes Twice A Day
A basic but effective piece of advice, but it works. It’s a tried and tested way of maintaining good dental health. Brushing your teeth helps remove food and plaque from your mouth and tongue. An electric brush is always better than a manual brush at removing food and plaque, and the heads should be changed around every 2-4 months to prevent any build-up of bacteria.
2. Flossing Daily
Only brushing your teeth is not enough. Flossing is often overlooked, but it’s really important to make sure food and bacteria don’t build up in between your teeth. Flossing at least once a day is advised by Colgate, and they stress the importance of using the right technique. The best way is to hold the floss between two fingers and gently, in an up and down motion, go in between your teeth. Continue to clean your gums by moving the floss around the base of the tooth, be careful not to snap or force the floss though, as this could damage the gum.
3. Using Mouthwash
Mouthwash helps prevent tooth decay and plaque build-up, as well as leaving you with fresh breath. Antibacterial mouthwash is especially effective for maintaining gum health. Also, swilling mouthwash around your mouth after meals will also remove any stuck food or debris. Alcohol-free mouthwash is the best option to prevent your gums from dying out. If you often chew gum after a meal to freshen your breath, make sure the gum is sugar-free. A better solution would be to just stick to water and rinse your mouth out with clean water after eating.
4. Selecting The Right Toothpaste For You
There are thousands of kinds of toothpaste on the market right now, so making sure that you are getting what you want from your toothpaste is extremely important. A fluoride toothpaste tends to be the best, but it depends on what you want to get from your toothpaste, whether that be whitening, enamel strengthening or protection against sensitivity. Your dentist will be able to advise you further on which toothpaste you should be using depending on what you want to achieve.
5. Reducing Sugar Intake
Plaque will build up faster on teeth when eating sugary foods and fizzy drinks because bacteria feasts on this type of food. It’s important to remember that even healthy food and drink, like fruit and fruit juice, contain sugar.
Instead, aim to make healthy choices by including vegetables in your meals, onions especially as they contain natural antibacterial qualities.
All of these suggestions can be done at home, but the most effective way of keeping gum disease at bay is to regularly visit your dentist for a checkup. Gum disease can be both symptomless and painless, so the only guaranteed way of knowing is by going to a professional dentist.