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What Habits Can Help Keep Teeth and Gums Healthy?

What Habits Can Help Keep Teeth and Gums Healthy?

Nothing makes a person more attractive than a smile. A smile can make anyone’s day brighter. Now, imagine a smile without gums. Not a pretty picture, don’t you think? Why is it important to have healthy gums and what habits can help keep teeth and gums healthy? Find out here.

Why is Good Oral Health Important?

Most people tend to overlook their oral health. Data show that 3.9 billion people suffer from some type of oral disease. The teeth play an essential role in a person’s survival. However, the gums are often forgotten.

The gums need as much care as the teeth do, as they play an important role as well in the functions of the mouth.

What are Gums for?

When it comes to discussions about oral health, the spotlight is usually on the teeth. But did you know that the gums or the gingiva play an important role as well? The gums are attached to the tooth, which creates a seal that protects the root of the tooth and the bones underneath them.

Basically, the gums hold the teeth together and make sure that they stay intact.

What Happens if I Don’t Take Care of My Gums?

When a person has gum disease, there is infection and inflammation damaging the soft tissues around the teeth. The main culprit for gum disease is usually poor oral hygiene practices that are not only harmful for your gums but for your teeth too.

If you don’t take care of your gums, it’s inevitable that you will develop gum disease. There are two main types of gum diseases mainly:

Gingivitis

Gingivitis is the initial stage of gum disease which can cause swelling and redness in the gums. A person with gingivitis may have gums that bleed easily, but the person usually doesn’t feel any pain or discomfort.

Gingivitis can also cause problems like bad breath or receding gums, which may affect your self-esteem. Fortunately, gingivitis is reversible. Treatment for gingivitis usually involves practicing good oral hygiene. This condition is prevalent but isn’t difficult to prevent.

Periodontitis

If gingivitis is left untreated, it can progress to periodontitis which is a more severe disease of the gums. Bacteria makes its way down below the gumline. As the infection progresses, gums separate from the teeth and further damage occurs on the tissue and bone.

Periodontitis can cause tooth loss, which can only be remedied by getting false teeth. The bacteria that caused this infection can also enter your bloodstream through the gum line which can have serious consequences on your health.

Gum disease has been linked to other conditions like

  • Heart attacks
  • Stroke
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

What Habits Can Help Keep Teeth and Gums Healthy?

The good news is that gum disease, together with other health issues concerning the mouth, are easily preventable. However, taking care of your gums should also be linked to taking care of your teeth. Taking a holistic approach to oral health is the best way to prevent tooth decay, gum disease, and other conditions that may harm your mouth.

Basics of Brushing

Everyone knows how to brush their teeth. However, not everyone is aware of brushing their teeth properly. Properly brushing your teeth means maximizing the plaque-fighting capabilities of a simple toothbrush and toothpaste. Here are a few things to keep in mind the next time you brush your teeth:

Brush your teeth twice a day, daily

The American Dental Association recommends that a person should brush their teeth twice a day, every day. Some experts recommend brushing your teeth after every meal in order to remove any food debris.

However, make sure to avoid brushing right after eating or drinking something acidic as this may cause the enamel of your teeth to break down.

Don’t forget the tongue

Invest in a toothbrush with a built-in tongue scraper. There may be bacteria harboring on the surface of your tongue that can harm your gums or teeth.

Use the right toothbrush and toothpaste

Make sure to use a toothpaste that has fluoride in it, which can help make enamel more resistant to bacteria. Also, use a toothbrush with soft and thin bristles that can be able to reach some areas of the gumline.

Replace your toothbrush: If the bristles of your brush start to appear flat or uneven, it’s time to buy a new toothbrush.

Technique is key

Take your time whenever you brush your teeth. If you rush things, you might end up not properly cleaning your teeth. Also, observe a proper tooth brushing technique:

  • Remember to place your toothbrush at an angle, about 45 degrees, from your gumline.
  • Make sure to brush the outer, inner, and biting surfaces of your teeth.
  • Clean the inner surfaces of your teeth by angling your brush vertically, and brushing up and down.

Basics of flossing

If you don’t floss, then you might want to look into building the habit. Flossing cleans the in-between surfaces of your teeth and under the gumline, which are areas that are prone to plaque build-up. If you decide to start flossing, here are a few tips to remember:

  • Be gentle: Use a back and forth motion to slowly ease the floss between your teeth. Snapping it down might cause pain and bleeding gums.
  • Do it for each tooth: Make sure to floss between all the spaces of each tooth. This may seem like a lot of work, but it’ll only take two minutes tops!
  • Do it every day: Building the habit of flossing once a day can have positive effects on your gum health, and the overall health of your mouth.

Other ways you can take care of your gum health:

Stop smoking

Smoking can make your body’s immune system weaker, which makes it less effective against infections. If you already have gum disease, smoking can make it more difficult for the infection to heal.

Key Takeaways

What habits can help keep teeth and gums healthy? Proper, basic brushing and flooding of the teeth can do wonders. For smokers, getting rid of tobacco for good can also help improve the health of your gums.

Learn more about Oral Health here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Picture of the author
Medical reviewed by Dr. Grazielle Millo-Paredes
Written by Tracey Romero
Updated Dec 28, 2020
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