It’s easy to think that oral health is all about your teeth — keeping them clean, bright and in top shape. The surprising truth for many is that your gums (having healthy gums) are just as — if not more — important to your overall oral health than your teeth.
Gum disease is one of the most prevalent illnesses in adults, and one of the most common oral problems along with cavities. Untreated gum disease can lead to a wide range of problems, like bleeding, root canal infections, teeth needing extraction, and even increased risk of heart disease.
Here are the best ways to keep your gums healthy:
Brush and Floss Twice A Day
You might be sick of hearing dentists say it, but brushing and flossing twice a day (or brushing twice and flossing once at least) is the best way to keep your mouth healthy. Removing food particles from on and around the gum, particularly from between teeth where it can get stuck, helps lower the chance of many oral infections.
Plaque that builds up at the base of teeth near the gum contribute enormously to gum disease. Keeping these deposits clear, or at least under control, is a major step towards good oral health.
Learn more about why it’s important to brush your teeth.
See The Dentist Regularly
Your 6 monthly check and clean is the next best way to keep on top of your gum health.
Plaque and tartar can’t be removed by brushing once it’s hardened. You need the dentist for that. Getting a regular check allows dentists or hygienists to scale the teeth and keep them shiny and clean. You’ll also get an oral exam to see if there’s any hidden gum disease or periodontitis that isn’t causing pain or discomfort, to allow for early treatment.
Smoking is strongly associated with gum disease. It weakens the immune system and makes it harder to fight off any infections should they begin. Smoking also makes it take much longer to heal any damage to the gums that might occur, making it easier to get reinfected.
Mouthwash helps reduce plaque, prevent or reduce gingivitis and slows the development of tartar. Rinsing also helps remove food particles from your mouth, giving your brushing and flossing that extra helping hand.
Not all mouthwash is made equal — look for those with an ADA seal, which shows that it’s both safe and effective.
Use Fluoride Toothpaste
Fluoride toothpaste with the ADA seal of acceptance will help combat plaque and tartar, while also remineralising your teeth for strength and protection. While the most important part of brushing is actually the mechanical action of wiping down the teeth and gums, adding fluoride toothpaste adds another layer of protection to keep your mouth healthy.