Visits to the dentists are the stuff of nightmares for many children and adults alike. But above and beyond these terrors, a dentist’s job and the rewards we reap when we frequently visit cannot be overstated. We have all been guilty of missing a few appointments or completely forgetting to schedule appointments. But even when we religiously follow our dentist’s advice, seeing them at regular intervals, we still have work to do when we are at home between these visits.
Our gums are particularly vulnerable to disease. Gum and periodontal disease are prevalent in many adults to the point that bleeding gums are commonplace in many people’s lives. This does not have to be the case. The following easy tips will help you look after your gums between dentist visits, ensuring you have happy, healthy gums.
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Because periodontal disease can sneak up on you, you must maintain a good home-care routine as a means of preventing gum disease. Good oral care ensures that you keep your mouth healthy. Brushing your teeth at least twice a day is paramount to keeping your mouth and gums healthy.
It is advised that you spend 30 seconds brushing each quadrant of your mouth. Timing yourself is a good way of ensuring that you spend the appropriate amount of time brushing your teeth. To properly brush your teeth, use short gentle strokes, paying extra attention to the gum line, those hard-to-reach back teeth, and any areas around crowns or fillings.
It would be remiss to mention brushing teeth without mentioning the best toothpaste and toothbrushes to use. Dental professionals agree that soft-bristled brushes are ideal for healthy gums. Small-headed brushes are also preferred, as they have more flexibility and a greater reach. It is also important to replace your toothbrush every three months or when it begins to show wear. This is because the bristles can collect germs that can lead to reinfection.
As for toothpaste, there are large selections of toothpaste that can be used for a variety of different conditions. It is, however, important to use a fluoride toothpaste. This is because fluoride strengthens the teeth and as such, contributes to the general healthiness of your gums. Brushing teeth is the foundation of healthy gums.
Proper flossing removes plaque, debris, food particles, and other impurities that are caught in places where toothbrushes cannot reach. Plaque build-up can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Daily flossing is essential to ensure that your gums remain healthy. Effective flossing should be gentle as gum tissue is delicate. As such, be sure to clean beneath the gum line. Use clean sections of floss as you move from tooth to tooth.
There are alternatives to flossing such as interdental brushes or water picks which are said to have the same level of effectiveness if not more. Water picks are hailed for dislodging plaque and other debris without the bothersome and at times tiresome nature of flossing. It is important to note that these should be used before brushing the teeth as they also rinse away the fluoride in toothpaste which strengthens the teeth.
Mouthwash is a great final step in your gum hygiene. Using a therapeutic mouthwash can help reduce plaque, prevent or reduce gingivitis, reduce the speed that tartar develops, or a combination of these benefits. It also helps to rinse away any food particles or debris in the mouth. Note that it isn’t a substitute for brushing or flossing, but it is a good finishing touch. Therapeutic mouthwashes can be found over the counter.
Smoking is strongly associated with the onset of gum disease. Smoking weakens the immune system overall, making it harder to fight off gum infections. More than that, once the gums have been damaged, smoking makes it more d