How To Maintain Healthy Gums?
When you think of the dentist, most people think of teeth. However, taking care of the often-forgotten gums is just as important, particularly as you age. Starting young, builds a good foundation for your gums, but do not worry, no matter your age, it’s never too late to learn how to properly clean your gums!
We’re sure you’ve heard of gum disease and have probably seen the word ‘gingivitis’ somewhere on a bottle of mouthwash.
What is Gum Disease?
When plaque builds up under and along the gum line, this may become the start of gum disease. Plaque contains millions of bacteria and is a soft sticky film that builds up on your teeth. This can lead to infections that hurt the gum and bone, as well as gingivitis. Over time, it also causes gum disease and tooth decay.
What Are The Signs of Gingivitis?
- Swollen gums
- Receding gums
- Tender gums
- Dark red gums
- Gums that are prone to bleeding
- Bad breath
Of course, not every case of bad breath is a sign of gingivitis or gum disease. If you are experiencing some of these symptoms, you should book an appointment with your dentist for professional judgement.
How Can I Keep My Gums Healthy?
- Floss. Flossing at least once a day helps remove plaque and food that you may have missed while brushing. Apart from protecting yourself from gum disease, flossing also saves you from embarrassing ‘food in teeth’ moments
- Brush twice a day. Brushing your teeth 30 minutes after your meal helps remove food stuck between your teeth or on your gums. However, avoid brushing your teeth immediately after eating, or using a toothbrush that is too hard, as this can harm your teeth and gums.
- Choosing the right toothpaste. Some toothpastes help protect your gums more than others. When buying toothpaste, look for ones that contain fluoride.
- Mouthwash. There are two types of mouthwash, therapeutic and cosmetic. To help provide protection from gingivitis, you want to look for therapeutic mouthwash. Oftentimes mouthwash will say that it fights off gingivitis on the label. Mouthwash can not only help prevent gum disease, but also reduce both the speed of tartar buildup and the amount of plaque on your teeth.
- Attend regular dental cleanings. When office reopens, it would be good to have regular dental appointments. This not only allows your dentist to regularly clean your teeth professionally, which in itself helps prevent gum disease, but regular appointments also allow for dental professionals to properly diagnose gum disease as soon as symptoms begin. This keeps gum disease from becoming more serious.
- Quit smoking. Smoking weakens your immune system and is strongly correlated with gum disease. It weakens your body’s ability to fight off gum infections, increasing the chance that it develops into gum disease. Not only will quitting smoking improves the health of your gums, but it also reduces your risk of lung cancer, heart disease and stroke among other conditions.
All of these tips should help protect you from developing gum disease. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any other questions or concerns.
Dr. Hanan Taraf is an experienced dentist. Her first practice was in Morocco, where she was born and raised. In 2005, she came to Canada, studying at the Université de Montréal where she earned her Canadian DMD Degree, graduating in June of 2010. She’s never stopped learning, however; Dr. Taraf’s dedication to continuing education led her to take further studies so she could offer oral sedation to ensure even the most anxious patients are able to enjoy stress-free treatment. Dr. Taraf is also a graduate from the University of Toronto’s Mini Implant Residency with associate professor Dr. Mark Lin.