To have a beautiful smile, it is not only important to have healthy teeth, but healthy gums as well. Healthy gums are firmly attached to the tooth, are a light coral color, and keep the tooth roots covered to prevent your teeth from looking too long. They also hold your teeth firmly in place to prevent them from shifting or becoming loose. Simply stated, healthy gums are a huge asset to the overall aesthetics of your smile.
Despite this, around 47.2% of Americans over the age of 30 are affected by gum disease according to the CDC. Cases of gum disease can either be diagnosed as gingivitis or periodontitis. Gingivitis is a mild form of the disease that can be reversed with the proper treatment. Periodontitis, on the other hand, is the advanced form that is progressive and must be managed through regular treatment.
Gum disease happens when there is excess bacteria in the mouth that accumulates along the gum line. These bacteria infect the gum tissue and cause them to become inflamed. At first, this may cause slight changes in the gums, which may not be noticed. As gum disease continues to progress, it eventually causes more noticeable symptoms, such as gum pain. Whether you have the mild or advanced form of gum disease, or no gum disease at all, maintaining or improving your gum health is very important. Here are some ways to accomplish that:
Brush Twice a Day
While brushing your teeth is primarily promoted as a way to reduce tooth decay, it is also beneficial to the health of your gums. This is because brushing twice a day removes the dental plaque in which bacteria reside. Not only does this decrease the amount of bacteria in your mouth, but it also prevents plaque from accumulating along the gum line, where it can cause gum disease.
As great as brushing twice a day is for removing plaque, there are certain places in the mouth that your toothbrush simply cannot reach. This is why it is necessary to also floss your teeth daily. Flossing allows you to clean between each tooth, as well as along the gum line. Contrary to popular belief, however, flossing more than once a day can actually cause gum irritation. Therefore, it is recommended to only floss once a day, preferably before you brush your teeth and go to bed.
Do you smoke? If so, then you’ve probably heard how bad it is for your overall health. However, smoking is also bad for your oral health, since all the chemicals will inevitably pass through the mouth. Not only does smoking make you more likely to develop gum disease, but it also makes it more likely to progress faster. This means that smokers are at a higher risk of losing their teeth due to severe periodontitis.
Have Regular Dental Cleanings
Dental cleanings don’t only benefit your teeth, but your gums as well. Just as floss can clean places your toothbrush can miss, your dental hygienist removes plaque and tartar from places that both your toothbrush and floss have missed. This prevents bacteria in these undisturbed locations from continuing to reproduce and cause damage to your oral health.
Not everyone uses mouthwash because most people are not sure what it does or how to use it properly. It is generally recommended to use over the counter mouthwash after meals in order to remove food debris from the mouth. The ingredients in the mouthwash also coat the surface of your teeth, making it difficult for plaque to form. Even with regular mouthwash use, you will still need to keep up on brushing, flossing, and dental cleanings.