Patients often ask how they can keep their gums healthy and happy and prevent gum disease and other dental health issues. There are many healthy (and easy) habits you can start forming at home to prevent gum disease.
First and foremost, practicing good oral hygiene is the most important thing you can do to prevent and treat gum disease. Most people tend to forget their gums when it comes to their oral health and more focused on getting a bright, white smile. But, healthy teeth require healthy gums.
Gum disease can lead to tooth loss. Fortunately, a person can take many steps to prevent and even reverse gum disease. These include:
- brushing the teeth properly
- choosing the right toothpaste
- flossing daily
- taking care when rinsing out the mouth
- using mouthwash
- having regular dental checkups
- stopping smoking
1. Brush the teeth properly
- Brush at least twice a day using a soft-bristle toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste.
- Replace the toothbrush every 3 to 4 months, or sooner if the bristles begin to fray.
- Brush the teeth at a 45-degree angle to the gums.
- Move the toothbrush in short strokes.
- Press gently.
- Clean the insides of the front teeth by turning the brush vertically and making several short strokes along each tooth.
2. Choose the right toothpaste
The toothpaste aisle in most stores will contain many varieties of toothpaste, from whitening products to formulas containing baking soda.
When choosing a toothpaste, a person should ensure that it contains fluoride and has the ADA seal of approval on the packaging.
3. Floss daily
Many people neglect daily flossing, but the ADA recognizes this habit as an important part of oral care.
Flossing removes food and plaque from between the teeth and gums. If the food and plaque remain in these areas, this can lead to tartar, which is a hard buildup of bacteria that only a dentist can remove. Tartar can lead to gum disease.
4. Rinse your mouth out with care
Many people rinse their mouth out after brushing their teeth. However, oral hygiene practices should complement the effectiveness of fluoride products, such as toothpaste.
When a person washes their mouth out with water after brushing their teeth with fluoride toothpaste, they wash away the fluoride.
Conversely, when a person rinses their mouth out after eating, they may rinse away food and bacteria that can lead to plaque and tartar.
5. Use mouthwash
According to the ADA, there are two types of mouthwash: therapeutic and cosmetic. Both are available over the counter.
A therapeutic mouthwash can help:
- prevent gum disease
- reduce the speed at which tartar builds up
- reduce the amount of plaque on the teeth
- remove food particles from the mouth
However, people should not use mouthwash as a replacement for brushing and flossing.
A person should look for the ADA seal. This seal indicates that the manufacturer has demonstrated enough evidence to support the product’s safety and effectiveness.
The ADA state that children under the age of 6 years should not use mouthwash.
6. Get regular dental checkups
Dental checkups typically include a professional cleaning of the mouth. Professional cleaning is the only way to remove tartar from the teeth. Professional cleaning can also help eliminate the plaque that a person may have missed when brushing their teeth.
With regular visits, a dentist can help identify the early signs of gum disease and gingivitis, a condition in which the gums become inflamed. Early detection can help prevent more severe problems from occurring.
7. Stop smoking
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), smoking makes a person more susceptible to gum disease because it weakens the immune system.
The CDC recommends quitting smoking immediately to help reduce the risk of developing gum disease. The use of other tobacco products can also increase a person’s risk.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment with our team of dental professionals in Palm Beach Gardens, please call us 561-799-7791