Gum disease is the main reason why American adults lose their teeth. Fortunately, there are treatments that can help — and better still, there are things you can do to prevent gum disease and keep your gums and teeth healthy and sound.
In this post, Marvin Taylor, DDS, and our team at Dr. Taylor’s Family Dental Center offer 15 gum disease-fighting tips for our patients in Waterford, Michigan. See how many you can incorporate into your oral health routine.
1. Brush twice a day
Most of us would never think of skipping brushing in the morning, if only to prevent bad breath during the day. Skipping at night when you’re super tired can be more tempting — but don’t do it. When you don’t brush before bed, germs have an entire night to cause gum disease and cavities. To make sure you brush, do it earlier before you get too tired.
2. Use the right brushing technique
How you brush is important, too. Choose a soft-bristled brush — manual and electric are both fine. And use these tips from the American Dental Association patient website.
3. Brush your tongue
Your tongue is home to millions of germs, many of which cause gum disease. Take some time to gently brush it or use a tongue scraper every night when you brush your teeth.
4. Use mouthwash
Rinsing with mouthwash helps dislodge food particles missed during brushing and flossing. Plus, its germ-fighting formula reaches all around your teeth to help prevent plaque and tartar from forming.
5. Use a gum stimulator
Everybody likes a good massage, so why should your gums be any different? The rubber tip of a gum stimulator helps improve circulation for healthy gums, and it can remove debris along the gum line, too.
6. Quit smoking
Smoking impairs circulation in your gums (and the rest of your body), making it harder for your gum tissue to ward off infection. Kicking the habit reduces your risk of gum disease and other oral health problems, too.
7. Take your vitamins
Research shows certain vitamins and minerals might help reduce your risk of gum disease. That includes vitamin D, vitamin C, and calcium. Eating a balanced diet is a good way to get the vitamins and minerals you need, but taking a multivitamin can help, too.
8. Drink some tea
Tea is full of antioxidants that help fight off inflammation. Plus, the acidity of green and black tea help balance your mouth’s pH and prevent plaque formation.
9. Skip sweet snacks
Gum disease-causing bacteria love sugar as much as you do. Limiting sugary foods cuts off their source of nutrition to prevent them from multiplying and causing infection.
10. Avoid sticky foods
Sticky foods are more likely to leave residues on your teeth and along the gum line, providing an instant food source for bacteria. Limit sticky foods — even healthy ones, like dried fruit, especially if you aren’t brushing and flossing afterward.
11. Floss at least once a day
Flossing before bed removes hard-to-reach food particles and helps prevent plaque from forming between your teeth. Find a type of floss that works for you — floss “picks” are fine, too. Avoid toothpicks, matchbooks, and other foreign objects that can wind up damaging your gums. And use the right technique to get the most benefits and avoid irritation.
12. Use a water flosser
Water flossers help remove tiny food particles and plaque even dental floss can miss, plus they help massage your gums. Use a low setting — too much water pressure can harm your gums — and use it in addition to regular floss, not as a substitute.
13. Add baking soda to your routine
Make a paste with baking soda and water and apply it to the base of your teeth right at your gum line. Gently brush with a soft toothbrush to remove plaque and neutralize acids that can irritate your gums.
14. Snack on raw veggies and fruits
The fiber in raw vegetables and fruits (especially harder fruits like apples) helps naturally remove plaque from your tooth surfaces. Chewing these foods also helps gently stimulate your gums for better blood flow.
15. Have professional cleanings twice a year
Twice-yearly cleanings are important for getting rid of plaque and built-up tartar so bacteria don’t have anywhere to hide. Plus, we can offer more tips to help you keep gum disease at bay.
If you have sore, swollen, red, or bleeding gums, you could already have gum disease. To learn how we can help or to schedule a regular checkup and cleaning, call 248-681-8100 or request an appointment online at Dr. Taylor’s Family Dental Center today.