Our gums are super-duper important.
When it comes to your mouth, it’s not all about how straight or how white and bright your smile is. Even if you have never had a filling or a hole in your teeth, it doesn’t mean you are immune to gum disease. So, if ALL your attention has been focused elsewhere… here are a few tips to get your gum health back on track!
Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss. It is also the most prevalent type of disease in the world. Having no teeth can bring a host of lifestyle and health complications as you age. Gum disease is usually painless, so most people initially have no idea that anything is wrong with their gums.
If you want to start early and keep your gums pink and healthy, here are some important tips to follow.
A lot of food particles can get stuck in between teeth and brushing doesn’t effectively clean these tight spaces. Flossing will be able to clean whatever the toothbrush has left behind. A quick tip about flossing correctly; the floss should slide against the tooth surface and disappear slightly under the gum to clean around the gum properly. Therefore, it’s important that this is done gently so you don’t cut the gums with abrupt force. Healthy gum will not bleed with normal brushing and flossing, if you are experiencing gum bleed during normal clean, you should consult your dentist.
Brush twice a day
The secret of optimal brushing is spending at least 2 minutes cleaning your teeth. It is important to ensure you cover all areas; especially right around those back teeth that are most often neglected and becomes more susceptible to cavity formation. Scrub your tongue too, since it can harbour bacteria.
Consider a battery-powered or electric toothbrush. These can help reduce gingivitis and plaque, more than manual brushing.
Change your toothbrush regularly
Your toothbrush is actually a breeding ground for bacteria and fungi. It is often moist and kept in an enclosed storage that facilitates an optimal environment for bacterial growth. These bacteria’s are likely to be transferred from your toothbrush to your teeth and gums, increasing the amount of oral bacteria and heightening the risk of gum infection. A good rule of thumb would be to change your toothbrush every three to four months or when you notice that the bristles are changing colour or spreading.
Yet another reason for smokers to quit: Smoking is strongly associated with the onset of gum disease. Since smoking weakens your immune system, it also makes it harder to fight off a gum infection. Plus, smoking makes it more difficult for your gums to heal once they’ve been damaged.
Minimise sugar consumption
Sugar is the food of bacteria. The white soft slimy film that builds up on your teeth over the course of the day is a collection of bacteria, the more food or sugar they get, the quicker and thicker it gets which causes more damage to teeth faster. Frequency, as in how often you eat is a big factor also. So, if you have a sweet tooth and loves dessert, it’s best to keep those to meal time as opposed to snacking 4-5 times a day even the snacks are healthy, bacteria loves them too!
If you have a gum infection, eating sweets can speed up the spread of the infection. Avoid eating sugar-loaded foods or drinks like lollies, cookies, cakes, pastries, soda, juices and dried fruits.
Visit your dentist at least once every six months.
Regular dental check-ups can effectively track the early signs of gum disease and stop it from spreading before it gets any worse. Your dentist will clean your teeth and gums at every visit, reducing your chances of getting dental problems in the future.
Just a Little More Help…
5 Food choices for Healthier Gums
Ginger root is considered a healing herb. With its anti-inflammatory properties, ginger promotes healthy tissue in your mouth.
Eat foods like carrots, celery and apple
Biting and chewing hard and crunchy foods aids plaque removal from teeth surfaces. Crunchy fruits and vegetables like apples and celery are great examples of firm, water-filled raw foods that are high in fiber which not only can exercise the gums, increase saliva production and neutralise acidity and rinse away excess food debris inside and around the mouth.
Milk, and other dairy foods such as cheese and yogurt are not only packed with bone-fortifying calcium, but also with the protein casein, which research suggests reduces acid levels in the mouth. In addition, drinking milk can neutralise acids produced by plaque bacteria. Note: Drinking milk with cereal or dessert doesn’t have the same benefit as direct consumption after eating. No milk around? Well, we’ve already told you all the wonderful things about cheese.
Load Up on Leafy Greens
It’s no secret that salad greens pack an all-around healthy punch, but they’re also especially successful at keeping mouths clean because they’re fibre-packed, meaning they require serious chewing to break down. The extra saliva produced by chewing neutralises mouth bacteria. High-fibre, stringy foods like raw spinach, celery and even cooked beans offer this benefit.
O is for Onion
The raw onion is a potent bacteria-fighting food. Yes, bad breath is the enemy. But that’s why sugarless gum and mouthwash were created. Onions have an antimicrobial property that kills bacteria, and, according to one study, completely wipes out four bacteria strains that lead to gum disease and cavities. Slice up and toss the strips in your salad, sandwich, and burger or in soups and stews.