Gum disease is one of the most common dental health problems, affecting almost half of people aged 30 or older. If you do not get the right treatment for gum disease, you could end up losing a tooth or having the disease spread into your jaw bone. To prevent gum disease, add these five things to your routine every day:
1. Thorough Brushing
Brushing your teeth is one of the most basic things you can do to prevent gum disease. However, many people do not brush for the full two minutes that dentists recommend. Use a timer to ensure you brush for long enough every morning and evening, and be sure to pay close attention to your technique. Dentists recommend that you hold your brush at a 45 degree angle to your gumline to remove plaque most effectively. Don’t forget to clean the backs of your teeth in addition to the front and chewing surfaces. Finally, do not press too hard, as excessive pressure can damage your gums and make them bleed.
No matter how thoroughly you brush, bacteria can hide out in the tiny gaps between your teeth. Toothbrush bristles can’t reach into these tiny spaces, so you need to use dental floss to remove plaque. Dentists recommend using a separate piece of floss for the top and bottom teeth. Wind the plaque around your fingers and move it along to get a fresh section for each new tooth. You might notice some bleeding when you floss your teeth for the first time. Usually, this bleeding stops if you continue to floss every day, but if it does not you need to see your dentist. Bleeding gums can be a sign of gum disease.
Mouthwash is useful for washing away any tiny traces of plaque and food that you missed when brushing and flossing. Rinsing with mouthwash every day also freshens your breath. As an additional benefit, some mouthwashes contain antibacterial ingredients. If your gums are swollen, your dentist might prescribe chlorhexidine mouthwash to protect your gum health. This powerful antibacterial mouthwash is prescription-only, so you will need to ask your dentist if you think it might benefit from this product.
Swapping sugary drinks for plain water can reduce your risk of gum disease. Whereas sugary drinks feed the oral bacteria that cause gum disease, water helps to wash away traces of food. Drinking plenty of water also helps to keep you well hydrated, promoting healthy saliva production. Keep a bottle of water on your desk and sip it throughout the day to keep thirst at bay. If you start craving something that tastes more interesting, add a few slices of cucumber to your drink to give it a refreshing flavor.
5. Sugar-Free Gum
Chewing on gum encourages your saliva glands to produce more saliva, which is important because saliva contains enzymes that help to prevent bacteria from growing. However, if you eat gum that contains sugar, the sugar will feed the bacteria, counteracting the beneficial effects of chewing. Choose gum that is sweetened with sorbitol or xylitol instead of sugar to protect your teeth and gums.
By adding these five daily things to your daily routine, you can reduce your risk of gum disease. Remember to also see your dentist for regular checkups.