Think you don’t see your dentist as often as you should? You’re not alone – 42% of Americans share your sentiments. In fact, only a quarter of U.S. adults are “extremely satisfied” with their overall oral health!
It’s not that surprising, considering that 42% of adults also suffer from periodontitis. Of this figure, 7.8% have severe periodontitis, which is an advanced form of gum disease.
Either way, gum disease is painful, it causes bleeding and swelling, and it can leave you toothless. These should be enough to prompt you to learn how to have healthy gums ASAP. More than that, gum disease can double, even triple your risk for heart attacks or strokes.
So, ready to learn all about how to keep gums healthy? Then keep reading, as this post lists some of the best ways to do that!
1. Master the Two-Minute Tooth Brushing Habit
It’s not enough to brush your teeth at least twice a day — you should also brush for at least two minutes each time. This is the optimal length of time to remove the plaque covering your teeth and improve gum health. It helps maximize the thoroughness and coverage area of your toothbrush as well.
This proper brushing technique also helps you reduce risks for heart problems. A study found that people who brush for less than two minutes are three times at more risk for heart diseases.
2. Stay Away from Toothbrushes with Hard Bristles
When buying a new toothbrush (which you should every three to four months), get one with soft bristles. The bristles should be soft enough that they can bend and reach under the gum line without hurting the gums.
Bristles that are too hard don’t necessarily clean better. In fact, they can do more damage than good as they can wear down your teeth’s enamel. Also, their pointy, firm bristles can poke at and injure your gums.
Be sure that your new brush also has an American Dental Association seal of approval. It’s also best to get a new toothbrush right after you suffered a cold or strep throat.
3. … And Don’t Scrub Your Teeth or Gums
Whenever you brush, think of “massaging” them rather than “scrubbing” them. Use a gentle, circular brushing motion on your molars. Scrubbing can wear down your teeth’s structure and may also injure your soft, sensitive gums.
As for the front and back sides of the rest of your upper teeth, clean them by using short, downward strokes. Use gentle, upward strokes for both sides of your lower teeth.
4. Get in the Dentist’s Chair At Least Once a Year
A once-a-year visit to the dentist is the ultimate minimum, even for people with good oral health. You’d need to crank that number though if you have cavities or gum disease. The bottom line is, you should be in that dentist’s chair more often if you have existing oral problems.
Also, it’s best not wait for the signs of gum disease or cavities before paying your dentist a visit. If you’ve been a bit lax on your oral hygiene though, and you have a toothache or bleeding gums, head to the dentist ASAP. These are early symptoms of tooth decay, periodontitis, or both.
Regular dental visits are a key step on how to prevent gum diseases. After all, there are many signs of oral issues that only trained eyes and hands can spot. At the very least, these visits can help keep your existing teeth and gum diseases from worsening.
5. Swap Out Your Cosmetic Mouthwash with a Therapeutic One
Cosmetic mouthwashes often have a temporary effect, such as getting rid of bad breath. After a few hours, this effect permanently wears off.
Whereas therapeutic mouthwashes have active ingredients that control or even manage oral conditions. Aside from bad breath, these ingredients can also reduce plaque, cavities, and gingivitis.
Again, look for the ADA Seal of Acceptance when choosing your mouthwash. This ensures that the product has demonstrated both efficacy and safety.
6. Try Oil Pulling to Get Rid of Bacteria
Oil pulling, an ancient practice said to come from the Ayurveda, may help remove oral bacteria. It involves swishing oil, such as coconut oil, in the mouth to kill bacteria and boost oral health.
One study found that using coconut oil as a “pulling” agent decreased plaque by 50%. The participants also said that this practice helped significantly reduce their gingivitis symptoms.
So, how do you oil pull?
First, warm up one tablespoon of oil (aside from coconut oil, you can also use sunflower, olive, or palm oil). Be thorough when swishing the oil around your mouth for at least 15 minutes. Spit out the oil on a piece of a tissue paper or kitchen roll to avoid clogging your sink.
Rinse out your mouth with water until you get rid of the “slick” feeling on the insides of your cheek. You should also do this a few times a week or even two up to three times a day for best results.
7. Cut Down on Your Alcohol (and Sugary Food) Intake
Researchers say that the more alcohol you consume, the more at risk you are for gum disease. A couple of glasses of red wine can be heart-healthy, but make sure you drink in moderation.
For one, because it appears that alcohol can kill the good bacteria in the mouth. Moreover, those who drank heavily had more “bad” bacteria in their mouth. These include “bugs” associated with gum disease, as well as cancer and heart disease.
Also, avoid reaching out for sticky candies if you’re craving for sweets. These stick more to the teeth (and their crevices), and when they do, they nourish the bad bacteria in your mouth. The longer the bacteria feed on these food left-overs, the faster plaque can form on your teeth.
If possible, stick to sugar-free snacks to satiate your cravings. If you do eat candies like caramel or fudge, brush your teeth soon after feasting on them.
Follow These Tips on How to Have Healthy Gums Now
There you have it, your ultimate guide on how to have healthy gums. By following these tips, you can prevent not only gum disease but also dental cavities. Remember, periodontitis can lead to tooth loss, and once you lose a tooth, you won’t be able to get it back.
Ready for more solid tips to keep your health in check? Then be sure to bookmark this site’s Well Being section for more informative posts like this!