When you say oral health, most people immediately think of teeth. While teeth are essential to good oral health, there are more parts to the mouth that all function together. If you’re not taking care of one part, it will affect the whole. To support good gum health, our Gainesville dentists at Comprehensive Dental Care have put together this guide on how to take care of gums.
What Is Gum Disease?
Gingivitis and periodontitis are two common types of gum disease. Gingivitis is more common and mild, and symptoms include bright red or purple gums, sore or sensitive gums, receding gums, bad breath, and gums that bleed when brushed or flossed. Left untreated, gingivitis can cause tooth decay and loss, and can lead to periodontitis. Periodontitis is a serious bacterial gum infection that damages gums and destroys the jawbone, leading to tooth loss and other health complications. It’s important to understand gum loss cannot be reversed, so it is essential to take care of your gums every day.
How To Keep Your Gums Healthy
Watch What You Eat
Being mindful of what goes into your mouth is an important aspect of oral care. Onions have antibacterial qualities that can help protect your mouth. Dark leafy greens, such as spinach and kale, are rich in vitamin C, which reduces inflammation. Dairy products provide vitamin D and casein, which can reduce tissue loss and enamel erosion. Raw vegetables, such as celery and carrots, can also provide teeth cleaning benefits and saliva stimulation. Avoid high-acid foods such as oranges, tomatoes, vinaigrettes, and sodas, which can break down tooth enamel. Alcohol and coffee should also be avoided as they cause dry mouth, and saliva is important for keeping gums and teeth protected.
Brush & Floss Daily
Minimum, you should brush twice a day and floss once a day, though brushing after every meal and snack is ideal. Brush your teeth for approximately two minutes each time with fluoridated toothpaste. Also, gently brush your gums in small circles. For proper flossing, ensure you are gentle and not pushing the floss against your gums. When you move the floss between your gums and teeth, maintain contact with your tooth, not your gum.
Use The Right Mouthwash
Many people use mouthwash after brushing, but this can wash away the fluoride from the toothpaste, which helps fortify teeth. While not a substitute for brushing or flossing, rinsing your mouth can help remove food particles and plaque. You should also consider using a therapeutic mouthwash that provides more benefits than just temporarily making your breath smell fresh. Therapeutic mouthwashes are available over-the-counter and will display the ADA seal. If you’re unsure which rinse is right for you, consult your dentist in Gainesville, FL.
There’s a whole host of issues with smoking, but it’s impact on your oral health is often overlooked. Smoking, whether it’s nicotine or cannabis, causes your mouth to dry out, which is detrimental to oral health. Additionally, smoking lowers your immune response to fight off gum infections, making it more difficult for your gums to heal and negating the other proactive tip in this guide.
Schedule Dental Cleanings
In addition to at-home oral care, you should be scheduling regular dental cleanings with your dentist. This can provide a deeper cleaning, especially around your gums and in between teeth. A visit with your dentist can also provide invaluable feedback on any tweaks to your home dental care routine. Most people require dental cleanings every six months, though your dentist will be able to advise if you should receive them more or less frequently.
Dr. Andrew Martin and the team at Comprehensive Dental Care provide patient-focused care and would be happy to discuss your oral health. We can also treat more serious dental issues with state-of-the-art, customized dentistry techniques. Invest in your health and happiness, and schedule a dental appointment today!