You may have noticed that while you were having your last teeth cleaning and dental examination done, a number was allocated to each of your teeth. This number, between 1 and 7, is known as periodontal checking and is the measurement of how deep the gum pocket of the tooth is in millimeters. Of course, the goal is low numbers, with between 1 and 3.
But, if you’re hearing 4’s or higher from the dental hygienist, it’s time to take action to improve your gum health and prevent advancing periodontal gum disease (periodontitis). The good thing is, larger periodontal pockets can be treated and reversed and overall gum health improved.
In this article, we’ll break down why it is so important to be proactive in reducing plaque and improving your gum health and tips on how to do just that.
Importance of Maintaining Optimal Gum Health
If left untreated, increasing periodontal gum pockets can continue to accumulate bacteria, allowing gum disease to thrive and grow quickly. Soon, large pockets won’t be the only problem. Complications from poor gum health can include:
- Red, inflamed gums that may even contain pus
- Bleeding gums
- Constant dull pain
- Increased pain while chewing
- Severe bad breath (halitosis) that doesn’t go away with brushing and rinsing
- Loose teeth
- Receding gums
- Bone loss
- Tooth loss
- Increased risk of heart disease
Increasing gum pockets, gum disease, and the consequences of poor gum health can be avoided by implementing some effective oral health habits regularly.
Gum Health Tips:
There are some specific things you can do and make part of your daily routine to help reverse any higher gum pocket numbers. They will also help you maintain optimal gum health and a good overall oral hygiene routine moving forward.
Some of the best ways to improve gum health include:
#1 – Brush Your Teeth Well
One of the easiest and most effective ways to improve your gum health is to brush your teeth regularly. But it is crucial to make sure you are brushing well. Effective brushing will adequately remove food particles and plaque buildup and help stimulate gum recovery.
You should be brushing twice a day, once in the morning and once at night, for two minutes at a time, brushing for 30 seconds on each quadrant of your mouth. It is also important to hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle against your teeth and gums, allowing you to properly clean along the gumline.
Though it will be a larger initial investment, getting an electric toothbrush can be a game-changer when it comes to improving your gum health and ensuring adequate brushing. These toothbrushes are much more effective at decreasing plaque and gingivitis compared to manual brushing. Plus, in the long run, an electric toothbrush can help save you money by reducing the number of dental office visits and treatment you would need without proper oral hygiene.
#2 – Use Fluoride Toothpaste
Fluoride is a powerful weapon against bacteria and tooth decay. So, make sure you are using fluoride toothpaste daily. Using fluoride toothpaste will keep your teeth and gums protected and clean as well as helping to further strengthen your tooth enamel.
#3 – Floss Regularly
Another important habit to incorporate into your daily oral hygiene routine is flossing. Ideally, you should floss at least once a day. Flossing helps to remove the food particles and plaque that your toothbrush doesn’t remove or can’t reach between your teeth.
Regular flossing will help protect your gums from the plaque buildup along the gumline that can quickly turn into gingivitis and more advanced gum disease.
#4 – Rinse Your Teeth With an Antibacterial Mouthwash
The final step of your daily oral hygiene should be rinsing with an antibacterial mouthwash. A rinse is another weapon against leftover food particles and plaque and will help protect your teeth from bacteria, though it should not be used as a substitute for regular brushing and flossing.
There are specific mouthwashes available, both prescription-strength from your dentist and over-the-counter, that are made for improving gum health and reducing early gum disease. Many of these mouthwashes contain fluoride as well.
Using an antiseptic mouthwash daily can greatly help improve gum health over a few weeks.
#5 – Be More Mindful of What You Are Eating and Drinking
Certain foods and beverages can negatively affect your oral health when consumed regularly. These include foods and drinks high in sugar and acid, including candy, soft drinks, coffee, etc.
If you do consume these types of things, take some extra time to clean your teeth immediately afterward. Not brushing or rinsing your mouth after can speed up the accumulation of plaque and bacteria along the gum line.
#6 – Stop Smoking
If you are a smoker, here is another great reason to quit. Smoking is a big contributor to the onset of gum disease. According to the CDC, smoking weakens your immune system, so it also makes it harder to fight off a gum infection and makes it even more difficult for your gums to heal once they have been damaged.
#7 – Don’t Miss Teeth Cleanings and Check-ups
Along with your at-home gum health efforts, you should also be visiting your dentist’s office at least twice per year for a routine check-up and teeth cleaning. Not only do these visits allow the opportunity to assess the condition of your teeth and gums, but your dentist can also spot any common oral health issues early and recommend the best proactive treatment. Partner with your oral health professional to improve your gum health.
You Can Start Improving Your Gum Health Today
If your gums are starting to show increasing levels of gum disease and you’re wondering how to improve gum health, don’t fear. You can take action today to start treating and reversing it. Then, it will be much easier to maintain good oral hygiene moving forward.
With the tips we covered above, you can be proactive and greatly improve your gum health. Here at Radomile Family Dental Care in Drexel Hill, we are your partner in optimal oral health. We can help you determine the actions to take and the treatment needed to keep gum disease at bay.
Have questions about how to improve gum health or want to learn more about how we can help you maintain the smile you want? Contact our office today, we’re here to help!