Observing a good oral hygiene routine is important in keeping teeth clean, white, and vibrant. But what about your gums? Do you consider their health when you’re brushing or flossing? Do you consider the health of your gums when choosing to eat one food over another? Your gums are vital to your teeth. They house and protect them and, frankly, when your gums are unhealthy, so goes the health of your entire mouth. But what exactly does it take to keep your gums healthy? Do you have to take extra steps over and above your regular oral hygiene regimen to keep gums functioning optimally? Top family dentists suggest the following tips for keeping your gums as healthy as they can be, and when your gums are healthy, your mouth is healthy, your teeth are healthy, and it shows in your smile.
You might be able to have healthy teeth if you eat lots of sweets or don’t eat vegetables or even if you don’t floss (though these aren’t recommended). However, if you don’t brush your teeth, it’s very likely you’ll end up losing some or even all of those pearly whites some day. Brushing at least twice daily isn’t just recommended; it’s vital. Ideally, it’s best to brush after each meal (though most dentists don’t recommend that you brush more than 3 or 4 times daily). Most of us brush twice daily … once in the morning and then again before bed … and that’s sufficient by the standards of most dental experts. Try a fluoride toothpaste to guard against decay. Additionally, if you’re somebody who likes a hard-bristled toothbrush, consider switching to a soft-to-medium-bristled one so as not to harm gums.
Floss is extremely important, not just for teeth, but for gums. Because most food particles get stuck in between your teeth right around the gums, flossing is recommended to keep bacteria from building up around the gum line.
Rinsing with an antiseptic mouthwash helps gums remain healthy, again, because it helps to keep bacteria from building up on gums. Gum disease is often caused from bacteria that are left on teeth from food particles, which makes using an antiseptic mouthwash at least once a day, a healthy component of a good oral hygiene routine.
Believe it or not, eating too many sweets isn’t the only dietary no-no when it comes to contracting diseases of the gums. Pretty much all processed and/or sticky foods can leave bacteria residue that, if not properly brushed and flossed away, can lead to unhealthy gums. And, just as important as what not to eat (at least not a lot of) is what you do eat. Try eating a couple of daily servings of raw, crunchy vegetables such as celery and apples, as these are known teeth cleaners. And, bonus, they also help to wash away bacteria. Additionally, loading up your diet with the proper vitamins and minerals isn’t just healthy for your body; it’s healthy for your mouth, too. Your gums, teeth, and all the surrounding structures of your mouth have nutrient requirements just like the rest of your body.
Of course, no dental hygiene routine is complete or healthy enough if you don’t visit your dentist twice a year. Your dentist can see things going on in your mouth that you can’t, such as gum disease forming. Even people who observe a healthy oral hygiene routine can develop gum problems, which makes those twice-yearly dental checkups important for catching little problems before they become big ones.
Most folks know what to do to keep their teeth attractive and healthy. But many of us don’t consider our gums much when we’re developing a good oral hygiene routine, or even when we’re maintaining that healthy routine. But the good news about gums is that they need pretty much the same care as your teeth do. And that means that when you maintain proper oral hygiene for your teeth, your gums will also benefit. By the same token, the bad news is that if you don’t include all the necessary components in your oral hygiene routine, your gums aren’t going to be any healthier than your teeth. Twice-daily brushing, at least once-daily flossing, and twice-yearly visits to a top family dentist… these are the minimum standards for maintaining healthy gums for a lifetime.