How to Maintain Healthy Gums

It is easy to focus on your teeth and smile while ignoring your gums when you think about oral hygiene. But maintaining healthy gums is a big part of a standard dental hygiene routine. Most people don’t realize they have some sort of gum disease until after the symptoms are too severe to ignore. Fortunately, there are many easy ways to ensure your gums remain healthy and we will discuss them in this post. 

What do Gums do?

Gums essentially serve two purposes. They form a seal around the bottom of your teeth and protect the most vulnerable parts from bacteria. They hold all of your teeth firmly in place. Gums are made from soft tissue and can develop problems ranging from inflammation to pain if they aren’t taken care of properly. 

When your gums are healthy, your teeth are protected and you are less likely to suffer issues like tooth decay or misalignment. If you have unhealthy gums, bacteria will get under the skin and cause decay or inflammation. 

What is Gum Disease?

Your mouth has both good and bad bacteria. Good bacteria help keep your mouth healthy and aid in digestion, bad bacteria can cause several health problems. It is important to maintain a well-balanced oral microbiome to remain healthy and avoid dental health issues. If there are too many bad bacteria and a buildup of plaque around your gumline, you will experience problems like:

  • Inflammation
  • Soreness
  • Bleeding
  • Loose or receding gumline
  • Swelling
  • Tenderness
  • Redness

Eventually, gum disease can spread from your gums to the underlying jawbone and even to your digestive system if it remains unaddressed. A compromised jawbone will alter the shape of your face, cause a lot of pain, and affect your bite. 

How Does Gum Disease Affect Physical Health?

Untreated gum disease doesn’t just have an impact on dental health but also physical health. Some research indicates that people with gum disease are more likely to develop other issues like:

  • Diabetes
  • Dementia
  • Chronic Respiratory Disease
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Pregnancy Complications

Studies show very close associations between these conditions, which is why it is a good idea to take preventative care and avoid periodontal disease entirely. 

Signs that You Have Gum Disease

It is important to remain vigilant when it comes to gum disease. As mentioned before, sometimes people don’t notice they have gum problems because some of these issues are painless and unnoticeable. Here’s a look at some of the biggest signs you need to watch out for compromised gums health:

  • Bleeding – Bleeding is the most prominent and noticeable aspect of poor gum health. If you notice frequent bleeding or the taste of blood in your mouth, book an appointment with your dentist today. 
  • Bad Taste – Have you noticed that the food doesn’t taste as good as it should lately? If that is the case, visit the dentist to get a gum health check. Periodontal disease can compromise your sense of taste. 
  • Bad Breath – Bad breath is also a sign of unhealthy gums. If you have bad breath consistently, even if you follow proper dental hygiene, we recommend visiting the dentist. 
  • Receding Gums – If you notice that your gums are pulling away from your teeth and receding, you need to get an oral health check just to make sure your gums are healthy. Receding gums can also compromise the structural integrity of your teeth. 
  • Loose or Shaky Teeth – If your gums grow weak or recede, your teeth will not have the support they need. That can lead to shaky, loosened teeth and even gaps between teeth. If you notice that your teeth feel loose, speak with your dentist. 

These are all signs of unhealthy gums and you should take action before the problem becomes worse and compromises your gum health permanently

How to Prevent Unhealthy Gums?

There are several habits you can adopt today to ensure you have better gum health overall. These habits don’t require much time and effort, and they should be a part of your daily routine as it is. Here’s a look at some of the preventive measures you can take for better gum care:

1. Floss

Plaque is the major culprit when it comes to gum disease. If you take steps to clean plaque, you will be able to protect your gums. One of the best ways to remove stubborn plaque near your gums and between your teeth is flossing. You need to floss at least once every day to ensure there is no plaque buildup. 

Use the right flossing technique and make sure you reach all difficult areas. You can look up some video tutorials or ask your doctor for the right technique. 

2. Brush Twice a Day

Brushing twice daily for two minutes at a time is essential. It also helps remove plaque and ensures there aren’t any harmful bacterial settling close to your gum line. If you can’t brush your teeth for two minutes, get an electric toothbrush. Those appliances have an automatic timer that ensures you don’t need to keep track early in the morning or late at night.

Brush using the right technique at a 45-degree angle to get the best results. Proper brushing techniques can help improve dental hygiene as well. 

3. Visit the Dentist

Visit the dentist to get gum teeth cleaned every six months or at least once a year. While regular dental hygiene can help, it isn’t as comprehensive as a professional dental clean. A dentist will clean areas that you couldn’t reach and make sure there is no sign of decay. A professional clean will also provide an opportunity for the dentist to assess your current oral health. 

A dentist will be able to spot early signs of decay or periodontal disease and offer treatment options before the ailment causes permanent damage. Visiting a dentist regularly is the best way to prevent dental health problems. 

4. Stop Smoking 

Smoking causes several oral and physical problems. It compromises your immune system and makes it harder for your body to fight harmful bacteria. Because your body can’t sight harmful bacteria, your gums are at risk of developing the disease. Smoking also makes it difficult for your body to heal if your gums are damaged. 

If you are recovering from gum disease, stop smoking for some time to ensure your gums have some time to recover if you can’t quit the habit entirely. It is important to let your gums fully recover before you smoke again. 

5. Fluoride Gum Toothpaste

Use fluoride toothpaste to help you fight gum disease. When you purchase toothpaste, look at the ingredients list carefully to make sure it has fluoride. Don’t look at claims about fighting gum disease or gingivitis. The best solution is to get an ADA-approved fluoride toothpaste. This ingredient will help fight decay, reduce plaque, and help maintain a balanced oral microbiome. 

You can easily find different flavors and combinations of toothpaste with fluoride on the market. A simple online search will get you all of the information you need. 

6. Mouthwash

Brushing and flossing will remove most of the plaque and bad bacteria but a therapeutic mouthwash will go the extra mile to help your teeth completely. The mouthwash will remove plaque, and tartar, prevent gingivitis and even freshen your breath. A medicated mouthwash recommended by the dentist is even more effective than over-the-counter products. 

A thorough rinse will remove any lingering food particles and help improve your overall oral health. It is a good idea to do it at night, before going to bed. That will help remove all of the food particles before you sleep and reduce the chances of encouraging bad bacteria. Mouthwash isn’t a replacement for brushing and flossing. All three steps should be a part of your daily routine for optimal dental health. 

Proper gum care will help you improve your overall health. If you have any concerns, you can ask your dentist for advice. They will recommend a routine and dental hygiene product that will suit your unique requirements. 

FAQ

1. Are healthy teeth a sign of healthy gums?

Not necessarily. Even if you have clean white teeth with no decay or discoloration, you may have gum disease. It is important to look out for the signs of gum disease and consult with your dentist to ensure you are completely healthy. 

2. Will a healthy diet help?

Yes, a healthy diet always helps. A diet that is especially rich in vitamin C and D will help improve your oral health considerably. Consume citrus fruits like oranges regularly to help maintain healthier gums. Limiting sugary and starchy foods, especially before bedtime, can also help. 

3. Should I brush my gums?

Yes, but gently with a soft-bristled brush. You just need to massage your gums instead of brushing them vigorously. Don’t go overboard because that will do more harm than good. Injuries to your gums can lead to infection. 

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