Brush, Floss, and Visit Your Dentist. Rinse and Repeat.
Brush twice per day.
Floss once per day.
And visit a dentist for a professional checkup once or twice a year.
Brushing helps to mechanically remove plaque from surfaces of teeth while flossing assists in removing plaque and debris from in between your teeth.
Getting a professional checkup and cleaning helps to take care of stubborn calculus deposits and gives your dentist an opportunity to monitor and treat any potential oral health problems.
"Daily brushing is one of the most basic but one of the most important things you can do to take care of your teeth. "
--- NAVID SENEHI, DDS. MD.
DIPLOMATE, AMERICAN BOARD OF ORAL & MAXILLOFACIAL SURGERY
However, there much more to maintaining good oral health and hygiene than brushing, flossing, and regular visits to a dentist.
One of the biggest hurdles to the implementation of an oral health routine is perceived inconvenience. In reality, it is possible to maintain strong and healthy teeth well into old age with just a few simple, inexpensive, and regular routines.
8 Easy Ways to Keep Your Teeth and Gums Healthy
Brushing is a foundational oral health habit. Brush twice per day with a fluoridated toothpaste and a soft toothbrush head. Remember, it’s not about how hard you scrub or about how long you brush. The key is to brush gently and make sure every possible tooth surface has been lightly scrubbed.
Nearly a full third of people never floss. That’s a huge mistake and missed opportunity. While many people assume that cavities occur on the biting plane or the flat surfaces of the molars, the truth is that just as many cavities occur in between teeth. Flossing with string floss or an interdental brush helps remove plaque and food debris from in between the teeth where toothbrushes rarely touch. By refusing to floss, you are missing a large portion of your dental surfaces to bacteria.
Regular visits to a dental clinic are a must for people of all ages. Even those with healthy teeth should still see a dentist regularly to ensure nothing is out of order. Furthermore, the rigorous professional dental cleaning that is often a part of a routine dental checkup can eliminate hardened calculus and reach often neglected areas of the mouth.
Sugar fuels the growth and proliferation of destructive bacteria. By avoiding or limiting sugar, you can aid in the growth and proliferation of sugar-loving microbes. This is an easy and effective way to keep your teeth and gums healthy.
Most people like to chew on something sweet from time to time. Next time you get a craving for sugar, consider chewing a piece of sugar-free gum. Look for gum with these ingredients: xylitol, erythritol, or sorbitol. Bacteria can't metabolize these so-called sugar alcohols. Better yet, they promote saliva production and satisfy your sweet tooth. Chewing gum also has the added benefit of mechanically scraping biofilm off of your teeth.
Many oral health products in the market focus on the teeth and gums. The tongue, however, is also an essential component of your mouth and deserves some care and attention as well.
That’s where a tongue scraper comes in. A tongue scraper has a handle like a toothbrush and is equipped with a variety of shaped heads designed to scrape food scraps and bacteria off of the tongue.
Research shows that using a tongue scraper, in conjunction with brushing, flossing, and regular visits to the dentist, can eliminate halitosis and help protect your teeth and gums in the process.
Massages feel great and help your body release stress. Did you know that your gums can also benefit from the occasional gently massage as well? A gum massage, or periodontal massage, can help improve blood flow to the soft tissues of the mouth making them more resilient against gingivitis and gum disease.
Gum massages are also very easy. Just take your fingers and gently but firmly press them into your gums at a 45-degree angle. I recommend doing this once or twice per day.
One of the easiest ways to promote the health of your teeth and gums is to drink more water.
Staying hydrated can benefit your entire body. Up to 75 percent of the general population doesn’t drink enough water and operates in a state of perpetual dehydration.
Drinking water helps to rinse bacteria and leftover coffee off of your teeth. More importantly, staying hydrated keeps saliva at an optimal level in your mouth. Saliva is 98 percent water, but also contains a potent brew of natural bactericide and reparative minerals.
When you are parched from a lack of water, that also means that there isn’t enough saliva in the mouth to keep bacteria in check or remineralize damaged enamel. Chronic dry mouth is itself a direct cause of a host of oral health issues from gum disease and periodontitis to cavities.
Common Questions About Healthy Gums
If you have healthy gums they will look firm and pink.
Signs of unhealthy gums include:
- Redness and swelling
- Gums that appear to be pulling away from the teeth
- Gums that bleed when you brush or floss
There are some factors that undermine healthy gums that include:
- Tobacco use
- Poor immunity due to more severe medical problems
- Poor oral hygiene
There are also some medications that can promote gum disease or cause dry mouth, including:
It's important to remember that healthy gums aren't just important for your oral and dental health. Maintaining healthy gums and teeth are important for your overall health and well-being.
There are numerous research studies that convey an association between periodontitis and other more serious chronic health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and stroke -- not to forget, advanced gum disease as well.
- Gums that bleed easily
- Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
- Bad breath or a bad taste inside your mouth
- Permanent teeth that are loose or separating from the gum
- Any change in the fit of partial dentures
There are several stages of gum disease. Therefore if the bleeding stops, it does not mean gum disease is over, but it could be a positive sign that you are on the road to recovery. Your oral surgeon or periodontist will be able to diagnose and provide a treatment plan based on the stage of gum disease that you have.
Swollen gums are a common problem and can be caused by a variety of issues. If you are suffering from gum swelling that lasts longer than a few days you should contact your dentist.
Following are possible causes to swollen gums:
- Change of toothpaste brands
- Poor nutrition
- Not brushing or flossing well
Periodontitis is a serious gum infection that damages the soft tissue inside your mouth and destroys the bone that supports your teeth. Periodontitis is common but largely preventable. It is usually a result from poor oral hygiene.
Symptoms of Periodontitis:
- Bad breath
- Loose teeth
- Pain when chewing
- Swollen or puffy gums
- Gums that bleed easily
- Gums that recede or pull away from your teeth
- New spaces developing between your teeth
- A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
If your gums bleed when flossing, you more than likely need to change your dental care regimen. You should also make sure you are eating a balanced diet and brush your teeth at least twice a day.
If you smoke, quit. According to the American Dental Association, using tobacco increases your risk of developing periodontal disease.
If bleeding of your gums persists, see a dentist or oral surgeon.
There are a number of things that can result in white lines on your gums, but regardless of what the causes are, white lines on your gums can be a sign of gum disease or serious illness. I recommend you consult with a periodontist or oral surgeon.
Gum colors often vary from person to person. Black gums and other changes in the color of the gums are often the result of a medical condition, medication, smoking, or other lifestyle factors.
The gums are durable tissues that surround and hold our teeth in place. They can range in color from pink to red, to black or brown. Changing in the color of the gums can indicate an underlying health problem, so my recommendation is to see a doctor to determine the cause.
For many people with gingivitis, swollen gums or inflammation is not painful. If you catch gingivitis early, it can be reversed and healed with proper oral hygiene. But if left untreated, gingivitis can worsen and ultimately lead to tooth loss. My advice is to seek medical attention if you are experiencing red, swollen, or tender gums for a prolonged period of time in spite of no pain.
DR. NAVID SENEHI
Diplomate of American Board of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery
Facial & Oral Surgeon | Founder