9 ways to take great care of your gums
Does it hurt when you brush your teeth? Or maybe you have noticed your gums bleeding when you floss. If this happens regularly, do not ignore it, as this could be an early sign of gum disease. Here are some ways to improve gum health to stop bleeding and pain and prevent gum problems from becoming more serious.
- Brush with fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day for two minutes each time. Ask your dentist or hygienist about effective brushing techniques.
- Gently floss every day. Flossing too roughly or infrequently can cause bleeding and pain.
- Use a soft-bristle toothbrush and replace it about every three to four months — sooner if the bristles are frayed. A stiff or worn out toothbrush could cause gum issues.
- Reduce bacteria by rinsing with an anti-plaque mouthwash. Using mouthwash can help you reach plaque and food particles missed when brushing and flossing. If the mouthwash contains fluoride, you will get the bonus of cavity prevention.
- Do not use tobacco in any form. Tobacco usage, including vaping, is a major risk factor in gum disease and oral cancer.
- Schedule regular dental cleanings and checkups. Only your dentist or hygienist can remove calculus (tartar)— one of the risk factors for gum disease. Your dentist can also determine if you have gum disease or if bleeding or pain are due to other health conditions.
- Maintain a healthy diet that is low in carbohydrates. Foods with carbohydrates — primarily sugars and starches — cause plaque to form on your teeth. The bacteria in plaque can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Crunchy fruits and vegetables, leafy greens, plus lots of calcium, vitamin C and vitamin D can help minimize gum problems.
- Ask your physician or dentist if your medication is causing bleeding. Some medications, including blood thinners, birth control pills and steroids, can make gums more susceptible to irritation and bleeding. Your physician may be able to prescribe a different medication or dosage.
- If you have diabetes, concentrate on managing your blood sugar levels and get regular dental care. People with diabetes are at higher risk for developing gum disease. Uncontrolled blood sugar levels can contribute to gum problems.
If you are stressed by recent events, it can be tempting to skip a brushing session or cancel your dental appointment. However, now more than ever, it is important to take great care of your oral health. It is strongly connected to your overall health and well-being.