A great smile starts with good oral hygiene. This involves daily care of your teeth and gums along with regular visits to your dentist. The right brushing and flossing techniques help to prevent cavities and gum disease, while routine checkups are essential to catch the signs of any problems early on.
Reasons Why Oral Health Is Important
Your oral health affects more than just your gorgeous smile. Issues with your teeth and gums can lead to concerns elsewhere in the body. This is one reason why preventive measures are so important.
Severe cases of gum disease cause inflammation levels to increase throughout your body. This elevation raises your risk of developing heart disease or suffering a stroke. There is also evidence that poor oral health may cause an infection of the respiratory tract, such as pneumonia. It’s thought that these infections develop from inhaling the bacteria that has built up in your mouth.
Another critical reason to take care of your teeth and gums now is to avoid tooth loss that may result from advanced gum disease. Losing your teeth makes it difficult to eat healthily since the high-fiber foods that are good for you, like fruits and vegetables, can be impossible to chew properly with missing teeth. Gum disease and tooth loss can also take a toll on your emotional health by lowering your confidence and causing embarrassment.
Signs of Gum Disease
The early stage of gum disease is gingivitis. This is typically a mild problem that is reversible with care from your dentist along with good oral hygiene. Signs of gingivitis include red, swollen, or bleeding gums and bad breath.
If gingivitis goes unaddressed for a long period, it can worsen and develop into periodontal disease, which is a build-up of plaque and tartar below the gum line. The presence of bacteria causes inflammation and even starts to destroy the tissue and jawbone while creating deep pockets around your teeth.
Signs of periodontitis are receding gums, loose teeth, and chronic bad breath. Other common symptoms include bleeding gums, pus between your teeth around the gum line, or puffy and red gums. You should call your dentist immediately if you experience oral pain, bleeding, or any unusual sign.
Several risk factors increase your chances of developing gum disease:
- Poor nutrition
- Grinding or clenching your teeth
- High levels of stress
- Tobacco use
- Certain medications
While you cannot eliminate the risk, you can make healthier habits to lower the chances of developing gum disease.
How to Maintain Proper Oral Health
Fortunately, there is a simple way that you can take care of your teeth and gums and protect your health. Develop an oral care practice to include the following:
- Brush your teeth at least twice daily.
- Floss at least once every day.
- Replace your toothbrush whenever the bristles get worn, or at least every three to four months.
- Rinse your mouth with an antiseptic mouthwash.
- Visit your dentist for a cleaning and checkup twice every year.
- Make an appointment with your dentist immediately if you notice any bleeding or other unusual differences.
- Discuss any changes in your overall health with your dentist, as some conditions can make you more susceptible to developing gum disease.
- Eat a balanced diet that is high and fruits and vegetables, and limit your sugar intake.
- Quit smoking as this causes plaque and tartar buildup. Smokers are four times more likely to develop periodontitis.
- Rinse your mouth after eating to wash away food particles and bacteria.
- Choose a therapeutic mouthwash that is approved by the American Dental Association for safety. It should help to slow the build-up of tartar and plaque while helping you to prevent gum disease.
How to Brush
You should brush your teeth at least twice per day with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Brushing 30 minutes after every meal is ideal if you can manage it. This is an excellent way to remove plaque and bacteria caused by food particles. The presence of bacteria on your teeth reacts to food by producing acid, which leads to cavities.
- Hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and use small strokes.
- Use gentle pressure to avoid causing damage.
- Make sure that you brush every surface and along the gum line.
- Angle the toothbrush vertically to reach the inside of your front teeth.
- Brush your teeth for at least two to three minutes.
- Brush your tongue to freshen your breath and remove bacteria.
How to Floss
Flossing is a good practice to do at least once per day to remove any food particles and plaque that is hiding between your teeth and gums. If you don’t include flossing in your daily routine, you are at higher risk to develop tartar, which is a hard build-up of bacteria and can only be removed by a deep cleaning at your dentist’s office.
- Start by taking about 18″ of floss and winding it around your middle fingers.
- Leave about one inch of space in between.
- Use your index fingers on each hand to maneuver a clean section of floss between each tooth.
- Move the floss in an up and down motion and wrap it around the tooth in a “C” shape to reach every surface.
- Don’t push too hard as this can cause pain or damage to your gums.
Daily brushing and flossing, followed by a good quality mouthwash, can do wonders for your oral health.
Schedule Your Appointment with Dental Excellence
If it’s been more than six months since you’ve last had an oral health exam and cleaning, or if you are experiencing any issues, then now is the time to make your next appointment with Dental Excellence.
Contact our experienced and caring team today to schedule your appointment. We are a family-oriented practice committed to providing you with the best level of care in a comfortable setting. We offer all forms of dentistry, from routine checkups to cosmetic dentistry and treatment for tooth decay and gum disease.