Healthy gums play an important role in protecting your teeth against decay. Gums cover tooth roots, sensitive tissues that lack hard enamel. When unhealthy gums recede, the roots of your teeth become exposed, causing tooth sensitivity and decay.
Gum disease has been closely linked to chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and even strokes. While doctors are still unsure to what degree one illness affects the other, we do know that inflamed gums can spread bacteria through your bloodstream to other parts of your body.
Healthy gums will appear firm and pink, whereas unhealthy gums may seem red and swollen. Unhealthy gums may bleed frequently during brushing and flossing. Many adults ignore these signs, assuming that the bleeding is the result of brushing too vigorously.
Gum disease is an extraordinarily prevalent condition among adults, affecting 3 in 4 people. Most people affected by gum disease have a condition called gingivitis, which is the earliest stage of the disease. As gum disease progresses to later stages, it may cause tooth sensitivity, tooth loss, and, eventually, bone loss to the jaw underneath.
Gum disease is reversible in its early stages. Here are some practical tips you can follow to prevent the progression or onset of gum disease.
Brush your teeth twice a day
It’s best to brush your teeth after every meal, but you should aim for at least twice a day: once in the morning and once at night. This will reduce plaque, which wears on your gums, eventually causing them to recede.
Believe it or not, brushing your teeth at night is the most important time. This is because your mouth becomes drier at night, so saliva is unable to fight against bacteria in your mouth. When a day’s worth of food particles is resting on your teeth, the bacteria definitely have something to feast on.
Pay attention to the toothbrush you use and how you brush. Electric toothbrushes are more effective than manual brushes. If you use a manual brush, make sure it has soft bristles, because hard bristles can damage your gums. Don’t use too much force while brushing. Your gums are sensitive and can recede or become irritated if you are brushing too hard.
To avoid bacteria build-up, you should swap or clean your toothbrush every three to four months. You can wash your toothbrush in a dishwasher or by stirring it around in a cup of mouthwash for thirty seconds. Store your toothbrush upright so it can dry properly.
Floss at least once a day
Flossing is perhaps the most important way to protect against gum disease. Without flossing, plaque will remain in between your teeth where your toothbrush cannot reach. This plaque often sits along your gums, causing irritation.
It doesn’t matter when you floss; just do it once. We can’t stress it enough!
Visit your dentist regularly
Ideally, you should visit your Montreal dentist every six months. Your dentist will be able to give your teeth a more thorough cleaning, removing plaque and tartar at the same time. Try as you might, you won’t be able to get tartar off your teeth by yourself. Only a dental hygienist can do this.
Your dentist will be able to catch the onset of gum disease in its early stages. He or she can give you tips on how to fight back against the disease before too much damage is done (probably reminding you to floss). You can reverse the early stages of gum disease through proper dental hygiene.
You can put your mouth through a lot, in a variety of ways, but by smoking, you are committing treason against your gums. Smoking rapidly increases your chances of gum disease. We’re not just talking regular cigarettes. Smokeless tobacco is shown to have an even worse effect on your gums than cigarettes.
If you have gum disease already, smoking increases the risk that periodontal treatments will be ineffective. Smoking also makes it more likely that dental implants, used to fill in space from teeth lost by gum disease, may fail.
Use therapeutic mouthwash
Therapeutic mouthwash can help reduce plaque and bacteria in your mouth, a solution your dentist will probably suggest if you’re fighting against gingivitis. Therapeutic mouthwash should not be confused with cosmetic mouthwash, which is primarily used to stop bad breath.
When looking for a mouthwash, you should ensure that it contains fluoride, cetylpyridinium chloride, chlorhexidine, essential oils (thyme, menthol, eucalyptus), and either carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide. The combination of these ingredients help fight against plaque, tooth decay, bacteria, staining, and bad breath. Chlorhexidine, in particular, works well to slow and prevent gingivitis.