3 Smart Habits for Gum Health: And How to Implement Them
In the U.S., gum disease remains a pressing public health issue, affecting two in five adults. At The Tooth Doc, we focus on healthy mouths, which includes gum health and gum disease prevention. This article will highlight three habits for maintaining gum health and provide practical tips for implementation. Let’s explore these habits together and ensure healthier gums and brighter smiles.
Your Strategy to Achieving Optimal Gum Health
Proper gum health is vital to maintaining a healthy smile for you and your family. Fortunately, adopting a strategic approach can significantly contribute to preventing gum disease and its potential consequences.
Let’s dive into the three essential pillars of gum health: effective flossing, proper tooth-brushing techniques, and regular dental visits. By incorporating these practices into your routine, you’ll be equipped with a powerful strategy to promote healthy gums and ensure long-lasting oral well-being.
We all know that flossing is imperative to maintaining healthy gums, as it is just as important as brushing when it comes to preventing cavities and promoting overall oral health. However, several common problems can hinder our flossing routine. Let’s explore these issues and devise strategies to overcome them, ensuring that flossing becomes a regular and effective part of your oral care regimen.
You forget to floss.
- Floss before you brush. Make it a point to floss before brushing your teeth. This simple switch in order can help you remember to floss regularly.
- Keep floss in sight. Place the floss in a visible spot, such as next to the sink handle or on top of your toothpaste. This way, you’ll be reminded to floss whenever you reach for your toothbrush.
- Order floss online. If you run out of floss, order it from platforms like Amazon. By doing so, you won’t have to rely on remembering it when making your next shopping trip. We recommend Reach Cleanburst or Oral-B Glide.
- Have multiple floss locations. Keep floss in several places around the house so you have easy access to it throughout the day. Flossing at a different time, if you forget before bed, is much better than skipping it entirely.
- Use a habit tracker app. Utilize a habit tracker app to monitor your flossing progress. Seeing how many consecutive days you’ve flossed can provide motivation and help establish a consistent routine. For kids, we recommend KidHab: Kid’s habit tracker. For adults, we recommend Streaks or HabitNow.
You don’t like flossing.
- Try a flosser instead of string floss. If you dislike traditional string floss, consider using flossers. These handy tools are designed to make flossing more comfortable and convenient, offering an effective alternative. Try these flossers from the Humble Co. or the Crayola GUM flossers for kids.
- Try a water flosser. Another option to explore is a water flosser. These devices use a targeted stream of water to clean between your teeth and along the gumline, providing an alternative method that can be gentler on your gums.
- Floss in front of a mirror. Flossing while looking in the mirror can be more satisfying and encourage proper technique and efficiency. Seeing the positive impact you’re making on your oral health can motivate you to continue flossing regularly.
- Watch educational videos. Educate yourself on the importance of flossing by watching videos, such as this how to floss video from the American Dental Association.
Your gums bleed when you floss.
- Floss regularly. Consistent flossing can help improve the health of your gums over time. If you experience occasional bleeding, continue flossing gently and regularly.
- Consult a dentist if bleeding persists. If your gums continue to bleed despite regular flossing, make an appointment with your dentist. They can assess the underlying cause of the bleeding and provide appropriate guidance and treatment to address it.
2. Brushing Teeth Correctly
Proper tooth brushing techniques are crucial for maintaining healthy gums and preventing issues like gum recession. Incorrect brushing methods and excessive force can result in the loss of gum tissue, leading to gum problems over time. Whether you use a manual toothbrush or an electric toothbrush, following the right approach is essential.
Manual and Electronic Toothbrushes
- Use shorter strokes and gentle pressure. When using a manual toothbrush, or if you prefer an electric toothbrush or your dentist near Omaha suggests one, use shorter back-and-forth strokes instead of vigorous scrubbing. Avoid brushing too aggressively, as this can damage your gums and lead to gum recession. Brush your teeth using a slow and gentle motion.
- Focus on all tooth surfaces. No matter which type of toothbrush you use, ensure that you go over all surfaces of your teeth, including the outer, inner, and chewing surfaces. Pay attention to hard-to-reach areas, such as the back molars. Electric toothbrushes are designed to effectively clean your teeth, so allow the brush head to gradually cover each tooth surface.
- Angle the bristles. Hold your toothbrush or electric toothbrush at a 45-degree angle against the gumline. This allows the bristles to reach beneath the gumline, effectively removing plaque and debris. This angle allows the bristles to reach the space between your teeth and gums, preventing the buildup of harmful bacteria and promoting thorough cleaning and reducing the risk of gum disease.
- Brush for two minutes, twice a day. Brush your teeth for a full two minutes, twice a day. Set a timer or use an electric toothbrush with a built-in timer to ensure you dedicate adequate time to thoroughly clean your teeth.
3. Visit your dentist near Omaha regularly.
Regular dental visits play a significant role in maintaining healthy gums and overall oral health. A study conducted by researchers and published by the National Library of Medicine demonstrated the substantial benefits of consistent dental visits in comparison to only seeking dental care when problems arise.
Regular dental check-ups enable dentists to detect and address oral health issues at their early stages, preventing them from escalating into more severe conditions. Moreover, routine cleanings and professional examinations provide an opportunity for deep cleaning and removal of plaque and tartar, which helps maintain healthy gums.
Overcoming Dental Anxiety
We know that dental anxiety can be a real concern for some patients. But we don’t want dental anxiety to keep you from getting the professional dental care that you need and deserve.
Here are some practical tips for overcoming dental anxiety.
- Open Communication: Discuss your fears and concerns with your dentist or dental hygienist. Sharing your anxieties allows them to tailor their approach and provide support throughout your visit.
- Gentle Techniques: Dentists, such as those at The Tooth Doc, specialize in working with anxious patients. They employ gentle techniques to minimize discomfort and create a calming environment.
- Sedation Options: Explore sedation dentistry options with your dentist. Techniques like oral sedation or nitrous oxide can help you relax and feel more at ease during dental procedures.
- Distraction Techniques: Many dental offices offer amenities like TVs, music, or headphones to distract patients during treatments and help create a more relaxed atmosphere.
- Deep Breathing and Relaxation Exercises: Practice deep breathing and relaxation techniques before and during your dental visit to help reduce anxiety and promote a sense of calm.
- Gradual Exposure: If you have severe dental anxiety, consider starting with shorter visits or simple procedures to gradually build your confidence and trust in the dental team.
Prioritize your gum health for a happier, healthier smile.
Incorporating the smart habits of flossing, proper tooth brushing, and regular dental visits into your family’s routine is crucial for maintaining healthy gums and overall oral well-being. Remember to floss before brushing, and dedicate two minutes, twice a day, to brushing your teeth using gentle brushing techniques at a 45-degree angle. By implementing these practices and scheduling regular check-ups with The Tooth Doc, you can take proactive steps toward optimal gum health. Prioritize your gum health by requesting an appointment with The Tooth Doc today.