How to keep your gums healthy

When we think about oral health, we almost always think about our teeth. But oral health encompasses so much more than that – including your gums, which, if not taken care of, can cause you a lot of problems.

Diseased gums can become inflamed, tender, red and swollen – and even bleed. If left unchecked, severe gum disease can start to harm the bones that hold your teeth in place. In time, it can lead to you needing to have your teeth removed.

So, taking care of your gums is really, really important. Here are six tips for preventing gum problems.

  1. Floss daily. No surprise here. Flossing is really important for gum health. It removes plaque and food that your toothbrush can’t reach. It also stimulates the gums and keeps them healthy. When you floss really doesn’t matter. All that matters is that you do it at least once a day. (Or more, if you’ve got something stuck between your teeth.)
  2. Brush daily, too. Again, no surprise here. Brushing is equally important for gum health as it also removes plaque. It’s recommended that you brush at least twice a day. You might also want to consider a battery-powered or electric toothbrush if you’re particularly concerned about your gum health, because they’ve been found to reduce gingivitis more than brushing with a traditional, manual toothbrush.
  3. When you brush, use fluoride toothpaste. Sure, toothpaste companies spend a lot of money marketing toothpastes with different flavors or with whitening powers. But neither is more important than ensuring that the toothpaste you use contains fluoride, a naturally occurring mineral found in your bones and teeth. Fluoride is the best defense against tooth decay and it’s also better for keeping your gums healthy, too.
  4. Also use mouthwash. Mouthwashes might not seem necessary, but they can help your oral health by reducing the amount of acid inside your mouth, cleaning hard-to-reach areas around the gums. Once again, consider mouthwash with fluoride. But just because you use mouthwash, don’t think that it can substitute for brushing with a fluoride toothpaste or flossing. All three habits are vital to gum health.
  5. Stop smoking. Gum disease is associated with smoking, in part because smoking weakens your immune system, which makes it more difficult for your gums to fight off infections. Granted, smoking isn’t as common as it once was in our society, but there are some troubling trends suggesting that the habit is making a comeback. Don’t do it. Resist!
  6. Go to the dentist at least twice a year. Gum disease almost always is painless and it’s easy to miss the signs of inflamed gums, especially if they’re not bleeding. But your dentist can identify the early onset of gum disease – especially if you visit your dentist regularly. Generally speaking, it’s recommended that everyone visit the dentist at least twice a year for professional cleanings and checkups. Don’t hesitate to contact an Ottawa dentist.

Oral health is multifaceted and maintaining it requires daily effort and regular check-ups. There is also a link between oral health and overall health, so taking care of teeth is not just an aesthetic quest, but a healthy one.