7 Ways to Ensure Healthy Gums and Strong Teeth
When it comes to your oral health, practising good oral hygiene is crucial for preventing and treating gum disease. While many people are after a bright smile and straight teeth, you should not neglect your gums. Even if you do not have any cavities, you can still develop gum disease.
So, to help you stay on top of your oral health, here are 7 tips to ensure healthy gums and strong teeth.
While it may seem like an obvious tip, the way you brush your teeth each day can have a huge impact on maintaining your oral health. It’s important that your toothbrush covers every area of your mouth, so brushing twice a day, using a soft-bristle toothbrush, and replacing it every 3-4 months is important. It is advised to use an electric toothbrush which is more effective at removing plaque and safer for gums. When brushing, make sure that you are gentle and use short strokes. Vigorous brushing can irritate your teeth and gums, causing them to recede.
As an aside, there are also now environmentally-friendly options to the typical plastic toothbrush!
Pick the Right Toothpaste
When shopping for toothpaste, you will be presented with a wide variety of products. Whether it’s whitening products or formulas that contain baking soda, it can be hard to know which one to pick.
All dentists and most mainstream health professionals including the NHS recommend you should select a toothpaste that contains fluoride which is designed to prevent cavities and strengthen teeth. When checking fluoride content, make sure that it has the correct amount to protect your teeth. For adults, It’s ideal to pick a toothpaste that has between 1400 – 15000ppm. Children should only have lower levels of fluoride toothpaste so ensure you pick a toothpaste that is age-appropriate as a condition called dental fluorosis can sometimes occur if a child’s teeth are exposed to too much fluoride when they’re developing.
However, many complementary therapists think that fluoride is toxic. ( See Allergies, Toxins and Disease) So what’s the answer? We can only suggest you do your research and act accordingly!
In addition to brushing to your teeth and gums twice a day, it’s important that you floss daily too. The primary aim of flossing is to remove any food and plaque that has accumulated and formed beyond your toothbrush’s reach. There are no recommendations on when you should floss, so it’s entirely up to you whether you floss before bed, once you wake up, or after lunch. There are numerous benefits that you can gain from flossing, such as preventing bad breath, preventing tartar build-up, and most importantly, preventing gum disease.
Get Regular Dental Check-ups
If you have gum disease symptoms, your dentist can detect them early and provide specialised treatment to help keep it at bay. Many people get nervous about visiting the dentist so if that’s you, you could look into a more specialist clinic. The Woodborough House specialists, for example, are Dental Phobia-Certified which means they’ve developed specialist techniques to help calm your nerves. Whilst this phobia can be a big problem for many, not going to the dentist at all could create a bigger one!
We all know how bad smoking is for our physical health, so when you factor in that smoking is strongly linked with gum disease, it may be time to pack the habit in for good. Smoking can weaken your immune system and make it more difficult for your body to handle gum infections. Smoking can also affect the attachment of soft tissue and bone to your teeth, which can make you more susceptible to gum infections. There are also other tobacco products that can heighten your risk of gum disease. There are lots of resources that you can use online to help you cut back and stop smoking altogether.
Using a therapeutic mouthwash can add an extra layer of defence in preventing gum disease. Therapeutic mouthwash can be purchased over the counter and be used to reduce plaque, reduce, or prevent gingivitis, as well as remove debris and food particles that have formed in your mouth. Using mouthwash as part of your daily oral hygiene routine will help contribute towards keeping your gums and teeth healthy.
If you use a fluoride toothpaste, you are advised not to use mouthwash immediately after brushing your teeth because it washes away the fluoride in the toothpaste.
Unless you have severe tooth decay, and especially if you are using a fluoride toothpaste, you can choose a mouthwash that does not contain fluoride.
Similarly, many mouthwashes contain alcohol which is carcinogenic. While the NHS and most dentists believe the low levels of alcohol in mouthwash are quite safe, there are an increasing number of alcohol-free mouthwashes available which use natural antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antifungal ingredients such as tea tree oil, arnica and aloe vera making them a much safer alternative.
Change Your Diet
There are several lifestyle changes that you can make to help keep your teeth and gums strong and healthy. The foods that you eat can have a negative impact on your teeth and gums, so it’s advised to incorporate plenty of high-fibre fruits and vegetables into your diet, which can help clean out your mouth. Black and green teas can help to reduce bacteria, whereas dairy products like milk and cheese are known to increase saliva production. Foods and beverages that can irritate your gums and increase your risk of gum disease include carbonated soft drinks, alcohol, starchy foods, coffee and, of course, sweets.
And don’t forget, once you have cleaned your teeth do not be tempted to have a light-night snack that then leaves your teeth with a fresh level of food debris!
Regarding oral health, most people tend to ignore their gums in favour of getting a bright, white smile. For your teeth to remain healthy and strong, you need to put your full focus into keeping your gums in good condition. All the tips listed above can be combined to improve your oral hygiene and reduce your risk of developing gum disease.