Do’s and Don’ts of Keeping Your Gums Healthy
Your gums are an essential part of your oral health. How you care for your teeth when you brush and floss has a direct affect on your gums. If you aren’t sure how to properly care for these soft tissues of the mouth, here are the basic do’s and don’ts.
The Importance of Gum Health
Many people don’t realize it, but gum health can be directly correlated to health throughout the entire body. The effects of gum disease can range from mild to severe. In fact, over the years, people with gum disease have been found to have a higher likelihood for developing cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, pregnancy complications, and even dementia.
Signs of Gum Disease
The American Dental Association lists the signs of gum disease to be:
- Gums that bleed easily
- Red, swollen, tender gums
- Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
- Persistent bad breath or bad taste
- Permanent teeth that are loose or separating
- Change in the the way your teeth fit together when you bite
- Any change in how your partial dentures fit
Further, the ADA lists the factors that could put you at a higher risk of developing gum disease. Those risks are:
- Poor oral hygiene
- Smoking or chewing tobacco
- Crooked teeth that are hard to keep clean
- Medications like steroids, some seizure medication, cancer therapies, oral contraceptives, and more
How to Care For Your Gums
Taking good care of your gums starts at home. For optimal gum health, you should be:
Brushing your teeth twice a day: you should brush your teeth once in the morning and once again before bed. This process should take two minutes each time, and you should be taking the time to thoroughly clean every part of each tooth.
Flossing each day: food and other particles can get lodged between the teeth in those tight spaces that a toothbrush cannot reach. To properly clean these areas, you need to floss between the teeth each day.
See the dentist: you should be visiting your dentist for a checkup every six months, even if you believe you are not having any dental health issues. The key to keeping up with gum health is having your gums inspected and thoroughly cleaned by your dentist twice a year. They will be able to catch any plaque that is beginning to turn into a deeper issue.
What Not to Do
Taking care of your gums needs to be a gentle situation. While you might be thinking some of the things you do are good for your gums, they could actually be harming them. Here are things you shouldn’t do when you want to take good care of your gums:
Do not use a hard-bristled toothbrush: you should be using soft bristled brushes unless otherwise directed. Soft bristles are able to bend and gently clean under the gumline, while hard bristles will be more harsh and actually cause harm to your gums.
Don’t let the floss hit your gums: when you floss, it can be easy to try and move quickly not paying attention to how gently you’re flossing. However, if you floss too hard and let it hit your gums once it glides between the teeth, you could be bruising and injuring your gums.
Consequences of Gum Disease
If you notice you have signs of gum disease but don’t seek help from a dentist, you could be risking complications and extensive, expensive treatments in the future. As we briefly mentioned above, gum disease can increase your risk at developing other health issues.
When you have gum disease, it means your gums are inflamed. Inflammation is a normal response the body has to infection or injury, so if you have gum disease, your gums can become inflamed and bleed. As this inflammation builds up in your blood, WebMD explains, it can make other health conditions worse or contribute to new conditions. Studies have shown that it can make patients more likely to have heart disease or diabetes, while other studies have also shown that it can raise a pregnant woman’s risk of premature delivery.
Make an Appointment with Dr. Ania
Here at Dr. Ania’s, we pride ourselves in customizing every aspect of your care, including your cleanings. Our hygienist will spend a lot of time educating you about your gum health and how to best maintain a healthy mouth. If you have noticed new bleeding gums, or gums that are dark red or swollen, make an appointment now before it becomes a larger issue.