Most people brush their teeth at least twice a day, and about 30 percent of the population floss daily. As careful as people are to clean and protect their teeth, they seldom consider the health of their gums. Almost half of all adults (4 out of 10) in the U.S. have gum disease. Even those with healthy-looking smiles can have undiagnosed gum disease.
Thankfully, early-stage gum disease is reversible. If you suspect you might have gum disease from issues such as receding gums, bad breath or bleeding while flossing, there are steps you can take in your daily hygiene routine to keep your gums healthy. You should also schedule an appointment with a Phoenix family dentist at Dental on Central for professional dental care.
Choose a fluoride toothpaste that carries an American Dental Association (ADA) seal of acceptance. Toothcare products with this seal have passed evaluations by the ADA and are deemed safe and effective for cleaning and protecting the teeth and gums. The ADA recommends brushing with a fluoride toothpaste at least twice per day for two minutes at a time. Be sure to also brush your tongue to remove bacteria buildup.
It is important to choose a soft-bristled toothbrush to protect your tooth enamel and prevent damage to your gum line. Replace your toothbrush every three to four months, or as soon as the bristles appear frayed. Frayed bristles may no longer have their protective coating, and can be too harsh on your teeth and gums.
Flossing is one of the most important ways to keep your gums healthy and prevent gum diseases, such as gingivitis and periodontitis. Flossing between your teeth at least once per day helps to remove food debris that can cause decay. It also prevents sticky plaque from building up on the gumline. In addition, rinsing with a therapeutic mouthwash after brushing and flossing helps to remove particles from your mouth, reduce plaque and minimize tartar buildup.
Unhealthy eating habits, poor nutrition and obesity may all contribute to unhealthy gums. By eating a healthy diet with high-fiber fruits and vegetables, you can help keep your teeth cleaner and healthier. Dairy products such as cheese and yogurt are also rich in casein, which may reduce tissue loss and increase saliva production to keep your mouth clean and healthy.
In addition, leafy green vegetables and green tea are good sources of antioxidants like vitamin C to reduce inflammation and prevent gum infections or swelling. It’s also important to reduce the amount of sugar in your diet – especially sticky sugars from candy and soda, which contribute to bacteria and plaque forming on the teeth and gums.
Smoking or chewing tobacco significantly contributes to the risk of gum disease. Not only does it encourage plaque buildup, but it also weakens the immune system’s ability to fight off gum infection and makes it more difficult for the gums to heal. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, smokers have up to twice the risk of gum disease as nonsmokers.
By keeping regular dental appointments for cleanings and checkups, your dentist can detect any early signs of gum disease and offer preventive care. Professional cleaning by your dental hygienist is the best way to remove tartar from the teeth and clean away plaque buildup. If you already have gum disease, a dentist can offer treatments such as scaling and root planning, flap surgery, or tissue grafts to remove tartar and repair the gums.
By following these guidelines, you can keep your gums healthy and minimize your risk of gum disease. Proper gum care is important not only for a healthy smile, but for your overall health.
COVID-19 (coronavirus) update: Our doors are open for all patients. Please click here to read a message from Dr. Herro about our commitment to your health and safety.