Keeping your mouth healthy is essential for your overall health. Your gums are the first line of defense against bacteria entering your body, and keeping them in good shape will help you prevent serious health issues, including gum disease, diabetes, and heart disease.
What is gum disease?
Gum disease (also known as periodontal disease) is a bacterial infection of the gums that causes them to pull away from the base of your teeth. Left untreated, it can lead to tooth loss and other problems. Gum disease occurs when plaque builds up on your teeth and hardens into tartar (an invisible film made up of bacteria and food).
The bacteria in plaque and tartar can cause inflammation in the gums, which can lead to further damage. If you don’t remove plaque regularly, these microorganisms will spread into deeper layers below the gum line where they multiply rapidly.
The good news is that protecting your mouth from gum disease is really easy. Here, we’ll share some tips on how to keep your gums healthy for the rest of your life!
Tip 1: Brush twice a day
Brush at least twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Plaque and bacteria will not be effectively removed if you brush too quickly, so don’t rush through this step! Make sure you brush thoroughly for at least two minutes using gentle movements. Also, be sure to brush all surfaces of each tooth, including the tongue.
To ensure your bush removes plaque effectively, don’t forget to replace worn-out toothbrushes every 3-4 months.
Tip 2: Floss daily
Flossing is a great way to remove plaque that’s caught up between your teeth. If it’s not removed through proper brushing and flossing, plaque build-up can lead to cavities, gum disease, and even tooth loss.
To properly floss:
- Use about 18 inches of dental floss wrapped around your middle fingers, leaving about 2 inches free at each end for holding the floss with your thumb and forefinger.
- Wrap the rest of the floss around the index finger just above or below your knuckle joints.
- Gently push the wrapped portion of floss between two teeth using a back-and-forth sawing action. Don’t use excessive force as this can damage gums — instead, try using light pressure.
Tip 3: Reduce your sugar intake
Sugar is a major cause of tooth decay and gum disease, so limiting your intake is a must. When you consume high-sugar foods, the bacteria in your mouth feed on it and produce acids that attack the teeth. The bacteria then continue producing more damaging acid, causing inflammation to the gums and leading to swelling or redness.
To prevent this:
- Avoid sweetened drinks like soda as much as possible. Instead, drink water or unsweetened tea/coffee with meals
- Limit desserts and snacks
- Drink water to rinse your mouth after eating candy or any sugary foods
Tip 4: Quit smoking
Smoking is a major risk factor for gum disease — and many other health problems. If you smoke, quitting may help your gums heal and reduce your risk of periodontal disease.
Smoking affects blood flow to the gums, which can lead to gum recession. It also makes it harder for your body to fight off an infection. That’s why periodontal disease is 4 times more likely to affect smokers than nonsmokers.
Tip 5: Use mouthwash
Using mouthwash isn’t just a great way to keep your breath fresh — it can also protect your mouth from decay and infection.
However, while using a mouthwash every day does help remove food particles and debris from your mouth, it does not replace regular brushing and flossing.
Tip 6: Visit your periodontist regularly
Regular visits to the periodontist at least twice a year are essential to keeping your gums healthy. During your visits, your periodontist can check for signs of gum disease and give you some recommendations on how to maintain healthy dental hygiene at home.
If your periodontist spots any early signs of gum disease, they will be able to treat it before it becomes serious.
Keeping your gums healthy is important to your overall health
Gum disease is a major health problem, and it can lead to other serious illnesses. This disease is often silent at its first stages, so the best way to avoid it or spot it if it occurs is to see your periodontist regularly for checkups.
Also, there are many things you can do at home to prevent this condition. Just by brushing twice a day and flossing once, you’ll significantly improve your dental and overall health.
We are here to help you protect your gums
The best way to keep your gums healthy is by taking good care of them every day. This means brushing and flossing daily, as well as making sure you visit your periodontist regularly.
If you have any concerns about your gums or are worried about gum disease, our team at Atlanta Center for Advanced Periodontics is here to help you keep your mouth in great shape. Reach out to us today!