Family Dental Care: Why Gum Health is Good Health

Posted on August 19th, 2019 at 11:22 AM
Family Dental Care: Why Gum Health is Good Health

While it’s important to take care of your teeth, take care to not neglect your gums. Your mouth hosts over 700 species of bacteria, some good and some bad. When the balance is disturbed — because of poor hygiene, poor diet, or genetics — plaque forms and gum tissue inflames. Inflamed gum tissue bleeds and may begin to recede or pull away from the teeth. This is the beginning of periodontal disease, which affects nearly half of adults 30 and older to some degree. 

Gum health and general health are close relatives; periodontal disease is associated with a higher risk of developing a score of other health issues, from cardiovascular disease to diabetes to dementia. Scared yet? Don’t be. You can prevent it from ever getting that far by observing a comprehensive dental care routine and regularly visiting your family dentist.

Minimize gum irritation with proper brushing technique.

Brushing your teeth the right way can prevent a host of problems — brushing teeth improperly can cause them. First, assess your toothbrush. Look for soft-bristled models with the ADA stamp of approval and be sure to replace your toothbrush every 3 months. Electric toothbrushes can provide additional cleaning power over standard brushes. 

Next, pay attention to how you brush your teeth. Using an ADA-approved sodium fluoride or stannous fluoride toothpaste, brush at a 45-degree angle, pressing gently and utilizing short strokes or small circles. Do not forget to brush the bite surfaces and behind the teeth — teeth are 3-dimensional objects!

Cover the gaps with proper flossing technique.

Flossing can seem like a nuisance, but it is truly a vital part of any dental care routine. Even the best toothbrush cannot get into gaps between teeth and beneath the gumline, and those gaps can harbor the perfect conditions for bacteria to grow and begin to wreak havoc on your gums — warmth, darkness, and a high-quality food source (especially if your diet is high in simple sugars). 

The American Dental Hygienists’ Association recommends working with an 18-inch strand of floss for each cleaning, using a clean section for each tooth. Use a zig-zag motion to insert the floss between teeth, and gently slide the floss up and down each tooth surface, wrapping around the tooth. 

Mouthwash is your dental care cleanup crew.

While it’s no replacement for brushing and flossing, rinsing with an ADA-approved mouthwash is added insurance for a healthy mouth. It will wash away loose particles and kill off most lingering odor- and disease-causing bacteria. Just avoid alcohol-based washes if your gums are already bleeding or irritated — it can aggravate the tissue. 

Don’t skip the dentist.

Even with the best dental care routine, there are certain things you just can’t get done at home. Professional teeth cleanings can remove tartar (hardened plaque) and further preserve your teeth and gums for the long haul. Your family dentist will be able to spot problems earlier and prevent a lot of pain, expense, and suffering down the road. Dental visits can be a terrifying prospect for some, which makes Sleep Dentistry with Dr. Kevin Mahoney the perfect solution. See why sleep dentistry may be right for you and schedule an appointment today.