The health of your mouth goes beyond your pearly whites. Your gums are an essential component to oral health and they can also have an effect on your overall well-being. Here is some know-how about the health of your gums and how to keep up with your oral care.

Brush your teeth twice a day

This may seem obvious, but brushing your teeth at least two times per day can have a big impact on the health of your gums. Brushing helps remove the plaque and food between your teeth and gums so that the debris doesn’t wreak havoc on your oral health. Consider a battery-powered or electric toothbrush, as it can do a better job of removing plaque than manual brushing.

Don’t forget to floss

According to the American Dental Association, it’s necessary to floss at least once per day. Flossing helps to get rid of plaque and debris that is beyond the reach of your toothbrush. Paired with brushing, flossing provides a strong defense against bacteria growth. Floss in the morning, after lunch or before you go to sleep- the timing isn’t important, but making the time for it is!

Visit your dentist regularly

A professional cleaning is the only way that tartar can be removed but it can also remove plaque that you missed with flossing or brushing. Your dentist can keep an eye on your gums and can detect early signs of gum disease. If symptoms are caught early, they can be addressed before they become serious. If you have symptoms of gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease, it can be reversed when caught early by a professional.

Stop smoking

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, smoking makes it more difficult to fight off gum infection, as smoking weakens your immune system. Smoking is strongly correlated with the onset of gum disease and it also makes it more difficult for your gums to heal once they’ve been damaged. People who smoke half a pack of cigarettes per day are three times as likely as nonsmokers to have periodontitis, a serious gum infection that damages the soft tissue and destroys the bone that supports your teeth.

Watch your diet

We all know that it’s best to avoid sugary and acidic foods to keep your teeth in good shape, but did you know that there is food that is actually good for your gums?

  • ginger root: promotes healthy tissue in your mouth with its anti-inflammatory properties
  • milk, cheese and yogurt: the protein, casein, reduces acid levels in your mouth
  • leafy greens: they require serious chewing to break down and extra saliva neutralizes mouth bacteria
  • onion: contains antimicrobial properties that kill bacteria and wipe out strains that lead to gum disease and cavities
  • omega-3 fatty acids: suppress inflammation and reduce risk of periodontal disease

If you don’t take care of your mouth and gums, and plaque builds up under and at the gum line, it can harden into tartar, and gum disease can be developed.

Symptoms of gum disease

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 50% of adults over 30 years old suffer from some sort of gum disease. Symptoms of gum disease include:

  • consistently bad taste
  • regular bad breath
  • separating or loose teeth
  • bleeding gums
  • dentures that don’t fit as well
  • red, swollen or tender gums
  • receding gums
  • widening spaces between teeth and bridges

Many individuals with gum disease don’t experience any symptoms or notice any signs of trouble. This is why it is essential to have regular dental check-ups and cleaning appointments with your family dentist.

Effects of gum disease

The effects of gum disease range from from redness and swelling to tooth destruction or tooth loss. People with periodontal gum disease are at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, pregnancy complications, respiratory disease, and dementia. Although the link between gum disease and other health issues is still being researched, inflammation definitely seems to be the connection.

If you are experiencing pain, inflammation, or redness, or believe that you have any symptoms of gum disease, visit your family dentist to ensure that you stay on top of your oral care.