When you look in the mirror, maybe give yourself a quick smile, what’s the first feature that you notice in your mouth? More often than not, you’re checking out your pearly whites – making sure that your teeth are clean, don’t have any food stuck in them, and that you’re ready to hit the town. Which feature do we tend to look at least when flashing a smile to ourselves? Most likely, our gums. And we need healthy gums for optimal oral health!
It’s important that we keep an eye on the part of the mouth that protects our teeth: the gums. But, how do we know if we have healthy gums? Are they pink and firm? Our gums surround and support our teeth as well as the bones of our jaws and are, essentially, barriers against oral infection.
Here are four tips that can help us achieve healthy gums:
Practice Good Oral Hygiene
Brushing and flossing, we know those are the cornerstones of practicing a good oral hygiene routine. When you brush your teeth regularly, you help to remove food particles and keep plaque from forming in your mouth. We recommend brushing at least twice each day for two minutes each time. The reason that we want to ensure we’re removing plaque is because it can harden under your gum line and turn into tartar. This tartar buildup can lead to inflammation that causes gum disease, which can lead to tooth loss.
Here are some quick tips for brushing and flossing:
- Hold your toothbrush at a slight angle and slide the bristle towards the area where the teeth and gums meet;
- Gently brush with circular back-and-forth motions;
- Remember to brush your tongue, too;
- After brushing your teeth, floss to reach the tight spaces between your teeth and under the gum line;
- Be gentle while flossing to avoid hurting your gums;
- Use mouthwash as an additional measure to enhance your oral hygiene routine.
Eat a Balanced Diet
When we consume healthy foods, we boost our immune systems and enable them to fight against infection. We also help to preserve and maintain our tooth enamel, which protects the inner layers of teeth from being damaged by dietary acids and helps keep your teeth looking white. Try to include foods that are rich in antioxidant properties in your meals. This may include: vegetable oils, nuts, and leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, broccoli, and certain dairy products.
As we all know, smoking tobacco doesn’t add anything positive to the state of our health. In fact, smoking weakens your immune system and tobacco, regardless of how it’s ingested, puts you at a higher risk for gum disease. Chemicals in tobacco products also affect saliva flow in the mouth, which makes it easier for bacteria to stick to your gums. According to the CDC, smokers are twice as likely to develop gum disease as non-smokers. Moreover, available treatment options for this condition may not work well for people who smoke.
Visit Your Dentist Regularly
We enjoy seeing you and want to return the favor! Make sure that you schedule bi-annual check-ups and cleanings. We’re here to help you prevent gum disease development and detect any oral health problems early on so we can treat you as quickly and efficiently as possible.
We recommend consulting with your dentist if you have any of the following symptoms:
- Red, tender, or swollen gums
- Bleeding gums when brushing or flossing
- Receding gums
As always, if you have any questions or concerns about your gums, how to ensure you have healthy gums, or any other part of your oral health, contact us – we’re here and happy to help!