Healthier Teeth & Gums: All You Need to Know
Healthy gums and teeth are a result of good habits, good hygiene, and proper prevention of oral health issues such as gum disease. The following practices will ensure the prevention of gingivitis and tooth decay by keeping the gums and teeth healthy and clean:
- Brush the teeth twice a day, thoroughly.
- Use toothpaste with fluoride.
- Floss the teeth at least once a day (twice if possible)
- Use fluoride mouthwash.
- Visit your dentist bi-annually for check-ups.
- Quit smoking.
- Abide by a healthy diet.
Table of Contents
Brushing Your Teeth Properly
If you can, try brushing your teeth following every meal. Brushing removes leftover acidic food particles that soften the enamel of your teeth. Brushing should occur roughly 30 minutes after eating, so the enamel has time to re-harden.
Brushing your teeth removes plaque, the layer of bacteria that when in contact with food produces an acidic reaction that leads to cavities in the teeth. To brush correctly, follow these steps:
- Use a soft toothbrush and a tiny squirt of fluoride toothpaste.
- Move the toothbrush in circular motions, continuing through the entire mouth one tooth at a time.
- Next, clean the chewing surface of the back teeth, be sure to clean all crevices in the molars.
- Brush the backs of the teeth.
- Brush the tongue gently from front to back, do not scrub.
- Rinse your mouth with water before using floss or mouthwash.
Don’t Forget Flossing Your Teeth
Flossing your teeth removes food, bacteria, and plaque build-up in between the teeth that cannot be removed with a toothbrush. If you neglect to remove this build-up between the teeth, it can develop into tartar, which is more difficult to remove and requires the assistance of a dental professional.
Importance of Mouthwash
Mouthwash is a crucial component of proper dental hygiene. It is not a replacement for toothpaste or dental floss, but an additional step to your oral health care routine that will remove plaque and leftover food particles. Do not use mouthwash immediately after brushing because you will wash away the effects of the fluoride toothpaste
When choosing a mouthwash, look for the ADA seal. This seal indicates the mouthwash has been tested and proven safe and effective by the American Dental Association.
Although it is important to dental health, mouthwash should not be swallowed, so those under the age of six should not use it.
A Healthy Diet for Good Dental Health
What we consume has a huge effect on the condition of our oral health. Some essential vitamins for your oral health include:
Dairy products, leafy green vegetables, and some fortified cereals contain high levels of calcium. Calcium is beneficial to the teeth in the same way it is to the bones, through absorption of calcium, the teeth become stronger, more durable, and healthier.
Phosphorus is one of the highest concentrated minerals present in the body naturally. Most of the phosphorus in the human body resides in the teeth. It helps maintain and repair the body’s tissues and works alongside calcium to ensure strength and durability of the teeth.
Phosphorus is present in meats, eggs, nuts, dairy products, and legumes. Many people follow phosphorus rich diets already and get enough of the vitamin without having to alter their eating patterns.
- Vitamin D
Milk, breakfast cereal, and other foods tend to be fortified with Vitamin D, which serves as the body’s absorption agent for calcium. Without Vitamin D, the body is unable to absorb calcium and benefit from its properties.
- Vitamin C
Deficiency of Vitamin C is common in patients with bleeding gums. This deficiency is because Vitamin C plays a huge role in gum health; the nutrient is responsible for the formation of blood vessels and other tissues that make up the gums and support the teeth. Citrus fruits and berries are high in Vitamin C, as well as Brussel sprouts, spinach, and other green vegetables.
Symptoms and Risk Factors of Unhealthy Gums
Gingivitis is a mild case of gum disease. It can be recognized by swollen, red, or bloody gums. Most of the time, gingivitis can be treated with proper oral hygiene habits and regular teeth cleaning, but if left untreated, it can develop into more severe gum disease; periodontitis which is the number one reason for tooth loss. Have your gums checked for signs of gum disease at Derby Dental Practice?
Periodontitis occurs as a result of plaque and tartar build-up below the gumline. As this disease worsens, the gums recede, pus forms between the teeth, breath becomes chronically bad, gums bleed, and your teeth fall out.
Certain people are more susceptible to gum disease as a result of risk factors they either can or cannot control. These include:
- Poor diet, obesity
- Teeth grinding
- Smoking, tobacco use
- Old age
- Use of certain anti-depressants, heart medications, or oral contraceptives
- Cardiovascular disease
- Type I or II Diabetes
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
Visit Your Dentist
If bleeding or discomfort in the gums persists for longer than a week, visit your dentist. Symptoms of gum disease include swelling, sensitivity, pain with chewing, redness, receding gums, and gums that easily bleed.
Hilton Dental Care is a Derby Dental Practice, conveniently close to both Derby and Burton upon Trent. The practice is fully private and offers routine check-ups, cosmetic procedures, teeth straightening, facial aesthetics and emergency dental care.