Everyone wants healthy teeth and a great smile, but did you know that your gum health is an essential part of that? February is National Gum Disease Awareness Month, so here are five tips on how to improve your gum health and prevent gum disease.
- Brush Your Teeth Twice Daily for Two Minutes Each Time
- Floss Every Day
- Don’t Use Tobacco Products
- Know the Warning Signs of Gum Disease
- Visit Southwest Smiles in Austin, TX!
Brushing is good for both your teeth and your gums. The bristles clean away plaque and food particles that contribute to decay and gum inflammation. You don’t need to scrub super hard to clean away the bacteria. Brushing too hard will actually irritate your gums, so use a soft-bristled toothbrush and brush gently for the entire two minutes. Avoid vigorous sawing motions.
Even if you brush every day, you’re vulnerable to gum disease if you don’t floss. This is because bacteria and food particles can accumulate under your gumline, where your toothbrush’s bristles can’t reach. Daily flossing may seem tedious, but the effort is worth it to protect yourself from painful gum inflammation and infection. To floss correctly, be sure to use a clean part of the string for each space so you don’t spread the bacteria around.
Smoking makes it harder for your body to fight off bacteria and infection so you’re more likely to develop gum disease. And once you have gum disease, continued smoking can accelerate the disease to the point of tooth loss and bone loss. Other tobacco products also negatively affect your gum health. If you currently smoke or use tobacco in any form, committing to quit is one of the best things you can do for your gum health.
Knowing what early-stage gum disease looks like helps you identify it early and take action. The first stage is called gingivitis, characterized by gum inflammation and irritation. If your gums are bleeding, swollen, tender, or abnormally red, you’ll want to improve your oral hygiene routine and schedule a visit to the dentist. Untreated gum irritation will progress to an infection called periodontitis, so don’t ignore these warning signs.
For healthier gums, visit our Austin dental office for routine cleanings and checkups. At these visits, we will diagnose any dental issues that require treatment, safely remove accumulated plaque and tartar, and provide personalized advice on how to improve your dental hygiene. We’ll also let you know if you’d benefit from a special deep cleaning procedure called scaling and root planing to combat gum disease.
In honor of National Gum Disease Awareness Month, contact us to schedule your next appointment at Southwest Smiles in Austin, TX!