Healthy gums are critical for good oral health and a great smile. Taking a little time each day to brush, floss and take care of your gums will go a long way in preventing dental problems down the road.
Seemingly harmless issues like a little bleeding when you floss are a sign that your gums are not as healthy as they should be. Your best bet is prevention when it comes to healthy gums. If you’re proactive about it, then you’re less likely to experience the pain of sensitive teeth or even gingivitis, in which the gums become inflamed, bleed and swell.
It’s never to late to start taking better care of your gums.
1. Brush Regularly For Healthy Gums
First and foremost, you need to brush your teeth regularly. Brushing twice daily is considered the minimum to keep your teeth and gums healthy. But, you may not know that the way you brush can have an impact on your gums, too.
- Don’t brush too hard. Gentle pressure is all you need.
- Use a toothbrush that is soft or extra-soft. The softness in the bristles is more gentle on the gums and won’t cut or rub them, making them bleed.
- Brush at a 45-degree angle. This helps you get the bristles up against the gums, but you’re not abrasively rubbing them.
- Every time you brush, aim for two minutes to help cut down on harmful bacteria in the mouth.
2. Don’t Forget to Floss
While flossing can seem like a drudgery, it goes a long way in helping to keep gums healthy. It removes plaque that would otherwise stay between the teeth and turn into tartar. Plaque and tartar buildup attract bacteria that will eventually lead to gum swelling and inflammation.
When you begin to floss, it will take it awhile to become a habit. However, if you keep at it, you’ll learn to look forward to how clean your mouth feels afterward.
Aim to floss at least once per day and help yourself out: get a brand of floss you’ll want to use. Some companies make different “flavours” of floss such as mint or cinnamon. For people with tight teeth, in which there’s not much space between each tooth, using floss “tape” or “ribbon” can be a lot more comfortable than other types. Waxed floss glides between the teeth more easily, as well.
Have you ever noticed that even if you brush thoroughly, your breath isn’t that great? If you don’t floss regularly, those little food particles left between the teeth can create a foul odor and contribute to chronic bad breath.
Another benefit of flossing is that it’s heart-healthy: believe it or not, studies show that people who floss regularly have lower incidences of heart disease.
3. Use Mouthwash
Using a good mouthwash will not only keep your breath fresh, it can help keep harmful bacteria at bay.
Use a mouthwash that kills bacteria. A number of brands on the market do just that.
4. Eat Some Cheese
If you can’t brush at the end of a meal, try eating a piece of Swiss or other aged cheese. It actually helps to pull away some of the plaque and food particles leftover from meals.
Not only that, the added calcium is good for bones and teeth.
5. Chew Sugarless Gum
You can freshen your breath and help clean your mouth by chewing on a piece of sugarless gum for about 20 minutes after eating. Keep in mind, this is more if you’re in a pinch. Regular gum-chewing, especially if you do that for extended amounts of time, can lead to jaw problems down the road.
Avoid gum with sugar in it, too. The added sugar will only serve to create more plaque and bacteria.
Try Oil Pulling
Oil pulling is a popular folk remedy. You “slosh” a tablespoon of coconut, sunflower, or sesame oil in your mouth for 10-20 minutes and then spit it out. It works like flossing in that you pull the oil through your teeth and lubricate the gums. It has the added benefit of whitening the teeth. Be careful, though. If you have loose fillings or otherwise painful teeth, you should check with your dentist before trying this remedy.
6. Don’t Forget the Dentist
Of course, you need to see your dentist regularly: every six months. By doing so, your dentist can detect any problems early on and help to keep your teeth in optimal condition. He or she will be able to clean any plaque and tartar build-up that can lead to diseased gums and will give you other pointers for your oral care.
7. It’s Easy!
All these suggestions will only take a small amount of time. A few minutes a day is a great investment for a lifetime of healthy gums and teeth. What are you waiting for? Start taking care of those gums and pearly whites to keep that smile as bright as possible.