Knowing how to properly care for your teeth at home prevents gum disease and helps you live a longer, healthier life. By practicing good oral hygiene at home you can reverse early gum disease. Good oral hygiene also reduces your risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, pregnancy complications, and possibly dementia. These are real concerns, according to Harvard Medical School, which has found that people with gum disease have two to three times the risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
The good news is that effective oral hygiene isn’t hard to put into practice. Start by scheduling your dental check-ups and cleanings with Dr. Jayne to remove bacteria-harboring plaque and to keep your gums healthy. While you’re at home, keep your gums and teeth healthy by following these five simple care tips in your daily regimen:
Five ways to keep your gums healthy
- Brush your teeth properly
You already know that it’s important to brush your teeth. It reduces gingivitis and plaque and keeps mouths and gums healthy. But by following these brushing guidelines from the ADA, you’ll keep gum disease at bay:
- Brush gently, twice a day for two minutes using a soft-bristle toothbrush
- Brush your teeth at a 45-degree angle to the gums
- Clean the insides of your front teeth by brushing up and down with short strokes
- Use a tongue scraper to remove bacteria from your tongue
- Use fluoride toothpaste
The toothpaste aisle in the grocery store contains a dizzying array of products. How do you choose which one is best for tooth and gum health? The choice isn’t as hard as you think: choose a toothpaste with fluoride that has the ADA seal of acceptance. And, stay away from whitening toothpastes which tend to be acidic and potentially harmful to your gum tissue.
Floss, at least once a day and before bedtime, to dislodge food that you won’t reach with your toothbrush. Flossing removes food and plaque from between teeth and gums and helps prevent the buildup of tartar. Need a refresher on how to floss? Check out this video by the ADA.
- Use mouthwash
Mouthwash is another way to reduce plaque and tartar buildup which helps to prevent gum disease. Look for a therapeutic mouthwash with the ADA seal of approval.
- Watch what you eat
Some foods are better for your gum health than others.
- Eat high-fiber fruits and vegetables to boost your immune system and help clean out your gums and teeth
- Eat dairy products and chew sugar-free gum to increase saliva. This washes away bacteria
- Consume foods and drinks that contain fluoride, like water, poultry and seafood
- Drink tea to help reduce bacteria in your mouth
At the same time, try to avoid foods that stick to teeth or are high in sugar. Steer clear of soft drinks, sticky candies, starchy food and alcohol, so bacteria-ridden plaque cannot grow.
We’ll see you soon!
If you are overdue for a dental cleaning, contact Dr. Jayne for your smile visit today. We practice a gentle but effective approach to removing bacteria-harboring plaque while attending to your overall oral health and keeping an eye out for signs of gum disease.