Healthy gums are essential for healthy teeth – you really can’t have one without the other, but gums are often neglected in normal dental hygiene routines. Not looking after your gums can lead to all sorts of problems – irritation of the gums leading to bleeding, damage to supporting bone and fibres, loosening teeth or even losing teeth completely in cases of advanced periodontitis. Getting healthy gums isn’t difficult, but it does take a bit of effort on your part with some extra time and attention required. Follow our steps below and you’ll see great results for your overall gum health.
There are certain foods that help keep your gums healthy that you should try and incorporate into your diet, if you don’t already. Onions are great (not only for adding flavour to food) but for neutralising oral bacteria. Leafy green vegetables are fantastic as they contains lots of Vitamin C which is essential for reducing inflammation – gum inflammation is a common complaint that we hear from our patients. Crunchy foods like apples, carrot sticks or celery can help to reduce plaque build up on your teeth, and anything that takes longer to chew like this will benefit your mouth by creating extra saliva to control bacteria build up around the gum line.
Patients often wonder just why smoking is so bad for their gums, and there are several reasons for this that stem primarily from the lack of oxygen to blood cells that smoking causes. Smoking makes it harder for your gums to fight off infections, and contributes to longer healing times after any gum damage. It also leads to more build up of dental plaque, which worsens any gum issues already present. For healthy gums, try to kick the habit to feel better.
Brushing your teeth is crucial, but not enough if you want great gums. You need to floss too in order to get the plaque and food debris that your toothbrush can’t reach, and we would recommend that you floss twice a day for maximum results. Some people find that their gums bleed when they floss – this should resolve itself over a short period of time as your gums become healthier, but if you are concerned you aren’t flossing properly talk to us and we can give you some tips and advice to do this painlessly.
When your gum tissue recedes and exposes the root of your tooth, this is known as gum recession. This process happens gradually, but is normally irreversible, so if you think your gums are receding talk to your dentist about ways to prevent this condition from worsening. This could involve changing how you brush your teeth (if you are brushing too aggressively), strategies for dealing with teeth grinding and in extreme cases surgery could be an option.
Regular dentist visits for cleaning
For all-round good oral health including getting (and keeping) great gums, you should schedule twice annual visits with your dentist for check ups and cleaning. This will ensure all the tartar is removed from your teeth, and your dentist can monitor your gum health more closely.