When it comes to dental health, it’s not just about how straight and bright your teeth are. Your gums play a very important role in your overall dental health, far beyond whether your teeth are straight and your smile is bright.
Even if you are cavity-free, you’re still susceptible to gum disease. While less common than in the past, gum disease still affects almost 1 in 10 American adults.
What is gum disease? Gum disease, or periodontal disease, referred to as the silent epidemic, is the leading cause of adult tooth loss. It begins when plaque accumulates under and along your gum line. Plaque is a slimy, sticky film that is filled with bacteria.
It can progress painlessly and in the late stages, the bone and connective tissues that hold your teeth in place can be destroyed. You have probably heard of Gingivitis and Periodontal Disease at your most recent dental cleaning if your gum health was not great.
Here are some tips for keeping your gums healthy.
1. Brush Twice a Day
We have all heard this a million times, but that’s for good reason. You should brush after every meal, and at the very minimum, twice a day. This helps remove food and plaque that can build up around the gums and hardens with time. Make sure to brush along the gum line in addition to the teeth themselves.
Each time you brush, it should last 2 minutes and you should place the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to reach both your gums and your teeth. Using a toothbrush with soft bristles is the best for gum disease prevention. If you can afford one, get an electric toothbrush because they are set to run for the two minutes needed to properly brush your teeth, and they usually vibrate to break up plaque around your teeth and gums.
Don’t forget to scrub your tongue as it can harbor lots of bacteria as well. Also, make sure you switch out your toothbrush heads every three to four months. Brush using only gentle pressure so as to not damage the gums and tooth enamel.
2. Floss Properly
This is always the most commonly missed or forgotten step in dental health. You should floss your teeth at least once a day to prevent gum disease. It doesn’t matter the time of day, whether in the morning or at night.
Flossing helps remove the plaque and food between your teeth that your toothbrush cannot reach.
Be sure to use proper flossing techniques, as just sticking the floss between your teeth is not enough. Speak to your dentist about flossing to learn more about how to properly floss your teeth.
3. Use Fluoride Toothpaste
There are plenty of kinds of toothpaste to choose from. Make sure you pick a toothpaste that contains fluoride and has a seal of acceptance from the ADA.
4. Get Regular Cleanings
Last, we recommend scheduling regular cleanings. Cleanings—also known as hygiene visits—are important to remove any tartar build-up, as well as plaque build-up, around the gums. Most people get a cleaning every six months.
Since gum disease is normally not painful, and early signs are hard for the average person to detect, it is wise to see your dentist every six months to keep your gums healthy. Dentists can detect when early stages of gum disease, like Gingivitis, occur and they can help you set a plan to address gum disease before it gets harder and more expensive to treat.
To schedule your cleaning today, request an appointment. If you have questions about gum disease, contact one of our friendly dentists at Alpine Dental Health today!