What do strokes and diabetes have in common?
Both health conditions can be linked to gum disease.
About half of Americans over the age of 30 have periodontal gum disease. That means at least 64.7 million Americans are currently living with gum disease on some level. If you want to protect yourself from the dangers of periodontal disease, we can help!
In this short but complete guide, we’ll review how to prevent gum disease with 5 daily habits. From brushing the right way to knowing when to rinse, it’s time for you to feel good about your oral hygiene.
Read on to learn the 5 ways to practice gum disease prevention.
1. The Truth About Flossing
Be honest, do you floss every day? How about twice a day? Even when you don’t think there’s any food in between your teeth, it’s still important that you’re flossing twice a day.
Flossing does a lot more than just removing food particles. When you floss, you’ll also be removing layers of plaque that are trying to attack your teeth. Flossing also stimulates your gums, which helps them stay healthy and strong. If you find it’s difficult to floss, or you can’t reach certain teeth, buy dental flossers, they’re awesome.
Should Gums Bleed When You Floss?
Are your gums bleeding when you floss? If you’re new to flossing, your gums may bleed for the first few days. However, if the bleeding persists, it’s time to schedule a dental appointment. Bleeding gums are one of the early signs of gum disease, and the sooner you take action, the better your recovery will be.
If your gums aren’t bleeding, you should still make sure you’re getting regular dental checkups. While some people need to see the dentist every 3 months, others can go up to 18 months in-between visits.
2. How To Prevent Gum Disease With Your Diet
Moving on, if you want to prevent periodontal disease, or treat it, you’ll need to take a good hard look at your eating habits. Knowing what foods to eat, and which ones to avoid is one of the biggest factors in learning how to prevent gum disease.
Here’s a short list of foods that can cause all sorts of dental problems:
- Sugary drinks
- Acidic foods
- Ice cream
- White bread and white pasta
- Flavored yogurts
- Cakes and cookies
The idea of cutting down on sugar, or changing your diet in any way can be scary at first. After all, for some, that end of the day treat is something that helps them get through stressful times. Don’t worry though, you don’t have to change your diet overnight, and no one’s saying you can’t ever have sugar again.
Instead, start finding ways to incorporate more nutritious foods into your diet, while cutting out sugars. For instance, did you know that a lot of milk has sugar added to it? By buying almond milk, or raw cow milk from a growers market you can cut 8 grams of sugar or more out of your diet right away!
Finally, consider setting up a cheat day, where you allow yourself to eat your favorites treats and snacks. On your cheat days, pay extra close attention to your oral hygiene, being sure to brush and floss after eating your treats.
3. Best Brushing Habits
Uh-oh! Chances are you’ve been brushing your teeth wrong your entire life! Since proper brushing is a crucial part of preventing gum diseases, now’s the time to improve your brushing habits.
First, make sure to hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle, pointing toward your gum line. Using a circular motion, slowly move the brush across each quadrant of your mouth. For instance, you can start by brushing all of the fronts of your teeth. Next, brush the backs, followed by the chewing surfaces.
Also, don’t overdo it on the toothpaste. Instead, all you need is a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste to take care of your entire mouth. We find that getting an electric toothbrush makes toothbrushing time easier and more effective.
4. Using the Right Type of Mouthwash
When you’re done brushing your teeth, you should wait a little while before using mouthwash. If you’re brushing your teeth with fluoride toothpaste, your mouthwash will wind up washing away the fluoride that’s helping protect your teeth.
Instead, wait about 20-30 minutes, and then use your mouth wash. Or you can opt to use your mouthwash in the afternoon, perhaps even after lunch.
We suggest you look for a mouthwash that can help prevent gingivitis since gingivitis is one of the top causes of gum disease. The antiseptic in your mouth wash will be able to kill any harmful bacteria that you didn’t get when you were brushing.
5. Saltwater Rinses
As you start brushing and flossing more than you were before, your gums might be irritated at first. Luckily, saltwater rinses are the perfect way to soothe irritated gums, while also protecting them from infections.
Here are the steps for getting the best saltwater rinse:
- Fill up a cup with warm water
- Add ½ teaspoon of salt
- Swirl the water around to mix the salt
- Take a small sip and swish for 15 seconds
- Spit out the water and repeat
You’ll continue to take small sips, and swish for 15 seconds until the entire glass of salt water’s gone. You don’t need to do saltwater rinses every day. Introducing too much sodium into the mix can have adverse effects on the enamel of your teeth since salt’s acidic. Instead, focus on doing salt water rinses 3-5 times a week.
Learning how to prevent gum disease is one of the best ways to protect your smile! Since gum disease is something that can affect your overall health, you can’t afford to spend another day ignoring your teeth.
Promise yourself that tonight you’ll brush, and floss your teeth before you go to bed. Also, if you haven’t seen the dentist in a while, schedule an appointment. You’ll rest easier knowing you’re taking care of your oral health. For more ways to protect your health, read another one of our articles.