Practicing proper oral hygiene is a must for healthy gums. The right routine will help prevent and treat gum disease, and you must brush your teeth properly, floss and choose the right toothpaste. 

Gum disease is a serious condition that can lead to tooth loss, but taking the right steps can prevent, and sometimes even reverse gum disease. Brushing your teeth properly, choosing the right toothpaste, using mouthwash, flossing daily, quitting smoking and attending regular dental checkups will help keep your gums healthy, and the following habits will help prevent gum disease:

1. Brush your teeth properly

It is a must that you do this twice a day with fluoride toothpaste to help keep your gums healthy. There is a technique to brushing, and doing it improperly will not clean your teeth. You must brush your teeth at a 45-degree angle to the gums and move them in short strokes. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and replace it every three or four months or even sooner if you notice the bristles start to fray. 

2. Use the right toothpaste

There are many brands and types of toothpaste, and you can quickly become overwhelmed. Choose a toothpaste that contains fluoride and ask your dentist for their professional recommendation. 

3. Don’t forget to floss

Flossing is not optional and must be part of your daily oral hygiene routine. Flossing will remove food and plaque stuck between your teeth and gums and will remove plaque from the hard to reach areas your toothbrush cannot reach. If food and plaque are not removed from these areas, they will lead to tartar which is a hard buildup of bacteria only a dentist can remove. If tartar remains on your teeth, it can lead to gum disease. 

4. Use mouthwash

There are different types of mouthwash, and you will come across therapeutic options and cosmetic mouthwash, both of which are available over the counter. A therapeutic mouthwash will help prevent gum disease and reduce the speed at which tartar builds up and will also reduce the amount of plaque on your teeth while removing food particles from the mouth. 

Mouthwash is not a replacement for brushing and flossing, however, and is an addition to your oral hygiene routine. 

5. Attend regular dental checkups

Visiting your dentist regularly must be part of your oral hygiene routine. You will receive a professional cleaning during these appointments, and the dentist will examine your teeth and gums. If they detect any signs that are concerning, they will discuss this information along with treatment options. 

Professional cleanings will help eliminate the plaque that a person may have missed when brushing their teeth and is the only way to remove tartar from teeth. The dentist can detect early signs of gum disease and gingivitis and early detection will allow for prompt treatment and will prevent more severe problems from occurring. 

6. Quit smoking

Smoking weakens the immune system and makes a person more susceptible to gum disease. Quitting smoking will help reduce the risk of developing gum disease, as will the use of other tobacco products. 

Dietary Changes

In addition to following a proper oral hygiene routine, a proper diet is also a must if you want to keep your gums healthy. The foods and drinks you consume can directly affect the health of your gums and teeth, and some may have a negative impact. 

Carbonated soft drinks should be avoided, as should alcohol and sticky candies and sweets. Starchy foods are also problematic because they can become stuck in between your teeth. 

There are plenty of good foods you can incorporate into your diet, including high-fibre fruits and vegetables, which can help clean out the mouth and black and green teas, which can help reduce bacteria. Dairy products are also great because they can help increase saliva production and sugar-free gum is also recommended because this too can help increase saliva production. 

Signs of Unhealthy Gums

Gum disease often starts with mild symptoms, but it can progress over time. Gingivitis is the mildest form of gum disease, and symptoms include red and swollen gums that bleed easily. Chronic bad breath is also a symptom of gingivitis. Most people will not experience any pain or tooth loosening with gingivitis, and this condition can be treated or even reversed with proper oral hygiene habits and dental care. 

Untreated gingivitis can lead to periodontitis which occurs whenever plaque and tartar spread below the gum line. The damage will worsen as periodontitis progresses, and there will be deep pockets of space between the teeth and the connective tissues. As this disease progresses, you may notice receding gums, loose teeth, bleeding gums, puffy gums and pus between the teeth or at the gum line. 

Risk Factors 

Poor nutrition and obesity, stress, teeth grinding or clenching, age and the use of certain medications like birth control pills or antidepressants are all considered risk factors that can increase a person’s chances of getting gum disease. Aging is not something you can control, but you can improve your diet and stop smoking to decrease your risk of gum disease. 

Visit your Dentist

In addition to visiting your dentist every six months for regular cleanings, you should also see your dentist if you experience bleeding or pain in your gums that lasts longer than a week. Swollen and red gums that bleed easily are a symptom of gum disease, and you should also look for other symptoms, including sensitive teeth, pain while chewing and gums that pull back from the teeth

Bottom Line

Gum disease is a serious problem that can lead to tooth loss, but practicing proper oral hygiene habits can help prevent this disease. A good at-home oral care routine and regular dental checkups can prevent gum disease, and if it has already developed, your dentist will discuss how to reverse it. 

Tavistock Family Dentistry has Your Back!

Are you concerned about your gums? Tavistock Family Dentistry can help get your oral health back on track! We will assess your gums, and if we find any signs of gum disease, we will discuss treatment right away. Contact us today to schedule your next appointment!