Teeth receive a lot of attention, but what about gums? Healthy gums are not only important for healthy teeth, but also can be an indicator of overall whole-body wellness. Those diagnosed with advanced gum disease may be more likely to develop further health problems such as heart disease. Below are five ways you can take charge of your gum health to keep teeth strong and limit dental problems.
Brush Twice a Day
Maybe you have been brushing your teeth since you were a small child, but are you doing it right? While you may find it easy to remember to clean the chewing surfaces of the teeth, just as important are the front and back edges, including the gums. First, make sure the toothbrush you use has soft bristles rather than stiff, abrasive ones. Hold your toothbrush at an angle with the bristles pointing toward the gum line. Flick the brush from the gums toward the tooth to dislodge bacteria and plaque that has settled on the gum line. It should take two to three minutes each time you brush your teeth. Set a timer if necessary.
Floss Once a Day
Flossing is a tried-and-true method of removing built-up plaque from between teeth that your toothbrush is unable to reach. Tear off approximately 12 to 18 inches of floss line and twist each end around your index fingers. Position the floss so it half encircles the tooth, working at removing bacteria from along the gum line and up and out from between the teeth. Floss at least once a day.
Carefully Examine Your Diet
First, make sure you are consuming a sufficient daily portion of fruits and vegetables. Next, consider where you can eliminate starchy and sugary foods. Bread, crackers and chips all leave behind particles that stick to the teeth. Candy, cakes and other desserts leave a sugar coating on the teeth which feeds plaque bacteria growth. Limit unhealthy foods not only for the benefit of your body, but your mouth as well.
Visit the Dentist on Schedule
Even those with the most proficient tooth-cleaning skills should visit the dentist once every six months. Dental professionals use customized tools to access hard-to-reach areas and completely cleanse the mouth of all plaque buildup. Dentists can also gauge the success of your current tooth-cleaning practices and make suggestions to improve teeth and gum health. They can easily spot the early signs of gum disease and address your oral health needs instantly.
Manage Other Health Conditions
Failing gum health could signal a lack of attention to other areas of bodily health as well. If you smoke, get help to quit, and get a health checkup to look for signs of heart conditions or diabetes. If a prescribed medication is affecting your gum health, talk to your doctor about an alternative or ask your dentist how you can better attend to your oral health while taking the medication. Focus on whole-body wellness, and gum health will naturally follow.
Make an appointment at Oak Hills Dentistry and form a partnership with a professional dental team that cares about your individual oral health, including the state of your gums.