11 Ways To Get & Maintain Healthy Gums
As you get older, taking care of your oral health should become a priority. If your teeth and gums show signs of discoloration and swelling, you might be doing something wrong. Here are some of the best ways to achieve and maintain healthy gums!
11 Habits You Need To Practice To Achieve Healthy Gums
1. Brush Your Teeth at Least Twice a Day
Brushing your teeth shouldn’t be something that anybody needs to be reminded of, but some people forget how many times it must be done in a day. The most ideal practice should be after every meal or snack, but brushing at least twice a day will do just fine.
When you brush, be careful around the gums. If you see any swelling or bleeding, you might have to visit your dentist and get them checked.
2. Use the Right Toothpaste
There are so many variants of toothpaste available in the market, so it’s understandable to be confused about which one to use. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), fluoride toothpaste is the way to go.
It is also important to avoid toothpaste with flavoring agents, microbeads, and artificial coloring. Always look for the ADA Seal of Acceptance on the tube before buying the product.
3. Clean Your Tongue
Did you know that your tongue accumulates bacteria that may lead to bad breath and plaque buildup? It is often overlooked when it comes to brushing the teeth.
Brushing your tongue regularly can help you keep your gums healthy. Make sure to use a toothbrush with soft bristles, or you can use the back to scrub the surface. Tongue scrapers can also be effective when used properly.
4. Rinse Properly
Rinsing might seem easy, but failing to do it right can actually be a problem. If you don’t swish enough, there’s a possibility of leaving unwanted toothpaste residue.
After brushing, spit out any excess toothpaste and wait for at least two minutes before rinsing with water. Swish and gargle for 2-3 minutes before spitting. Repeat the rinsing process for two more times and you’re good to go.
5. Use Antibacterial Mouthwash
Just like toothpaste, you must check the ADA Seal of Acceptance before purchasing any mouthwash. Avoid going for the cosmetic variety—they are only beneficial for temporarily relieving bad breath.
Opt for a therapeutic mouthwash with fluoride, cetylpyridinium chloride, and chlorhexidine. These ingredients are great for fighting tooth decay and gingivitis.
6. Floss Regularly
Brushing your teeth often means nothing if you don’t floss regularly. The bristles of a toothbrush can only reach certain areas of the teeth; some crevices can be tricky to clean. A string of dental floss gets the job done with the right technique.
Over flossing is definitely a thing, so don’t get too carried away. It can cause damage to your gum line if you’re not careful, so limit the habit to once per day.
7. Replace Your Toothbrush Every 3 Months
A lot of people don’t know that you’re supposed to replace your toothbrush every three to four months. The ADA recommends a switch if the bristles are already worn out and frayed.
To take better care of your toothbrushes in the future, remember to rinse them out thoroughly after use to remove any toothpaste residue that can attract bacteria. Before storing, let your toothbrush air dry and store it in an upright position.
8. Never Miss Your Dental Appointments
No matter what age you are, visits to the dentist are always necessary. These appointments can help determine whether you’ve been doing a good job in maintaining your oral hygiene.
Your dentist can also identify whether you need some professional cleaning or additional gum care. Scheduling your check-ups every six months is the key to addressing any dental issues you might encounter.
9. Quit Smoking
Aside from the lung problems you’ll probably face with smoking, you might even have to deal with gum disease. Tobacco found in cigarettes can cause irreversible damage to your gums, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The CDC strongly encourages smokers to quit the vice to avoid further infection. A severe case of gum disease can be difficult to treat and may require surgery.
10. Limit Your Sugar and Starch Intake
Your favorite sweets and beloved snacks can stay in your diet, but learning how to limit them is a must. When you consume an excessive amount, cavities and swollen gums may come your way.
Lessen your intake of carbonated drinks and alcohol, starchy food, hard sweets, and sticky candies. Remember to drink plenty of water after eating and learn how to brush your teeth properly.
11. Maintain a Healthy Diet
Eating the right food can do wonders in maintaining the health of your gums and teeth, especially when you choose those packed with calcium and phosphates.
Fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and dairy products should be present in your meals. These foods are not only nutritious, but they can also reduce the risk of plaque buildup.
Gum Diseases To Avoid
Gingivitis is a mild case of gum disease characterized by swollen and bleeding gums. It is usually caused by poor oral hygiene, but can be managed with appropriate dental care. If left untreated, it may lead to periodontitis.
Periodontitis is marked by loose and sensitive teeth, with the gums detaching from the teeth and forming pockets. It’s an infection that may advance tooth loss and bone destruction in the mouth, possibly requiring surgery depending on the severity.
Signs That You Have Healthy Gums
- Pink and firm
- No redness or swelling
- Pyramidal or knife-edged shape
- Following the curve of the teeth
- Should not bleed while brushing or flossing
- No bad breath or metallic taste in the mouth
Healthy gums and teeth might seem hard to maintain as you age, but they are not difficult to achieve. It is important to learn and practice the right habits for oral hygiene, especially when you are prone to tooth loss and decay. Attending your dental appointments will also do wonders, so never skip them!
Do you have other tips to achieve healthy gums? Share them with us in the comments below!
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