gumsGood oral health does not only involve caring for your pearly whites. It’s just as important for you to keep an eye on your gums. After all, your gums hold your teeth in place, and damage to these structures can cause your teeth to loosen and fall out. Periodontal, or gum, disease is the leading cause of tooth loss. Here are some simple ways that you can take care of your gums:

Use an electric toothbrush.

The problem for most people is not a lack of tooth brushing, but brushing incorrectly. According to Dr. Mark J. Fleming of Belmont Dental Care in Scottsdale, AZ, it’s not the force that you exert when brushing your teeth which helps to remove food particles and plaque, but rather the way the brush moves in the teeth and mouth. The proper way of brushing is to move the toothbrush head in an oscillating-rotating motion. It can be rather difficult to master this method of brushing, so many dentists suggest that their patients use an electric toothbrush instead.

Pick out the right toothpaste.

Plaque and tartar are the substances which irritate your gums and cause inflammation. To prevent the excessive accumulation of these substances, Dr. Fleming of Belmont Dental Care in Scottsdale, AZ suggests that you use toothpastes which contain pyrophosphates and triclosan as some of the active ingredients. Pyrophosphates are able to prevent the transformation of the plaque into tartar, a mineralized version of plaque which can only be removed by a professional dental cleaning. Triclosan is an antimicrobial ingredient which helps to kill cavity-causing bacteria found in plaque which may cause gum infection.

Rinse with mouthwash.

Antiseptic mouthwashes help to kill bacteria which may be stuck between the teeth. The bristles of your toothbrush cannot penetrate some areas, most notably near the molars at the back of your mouth and spaces in between your teeth. Pick out a mouthwash that has antiseptic or antibacterial action and is labelled as “anti-plaque”.

Floss once a day.

Flossing is also an important part of your dental hygiene routine, as it is the most efficient way of removing plaque and other debris which may be left in hard to reach areas. Don’t feel alarmed if you floss your teeth and you see streaks of blood, this is normal when you first begin. If it does not clear up after a few days of regular flossing, contact Dr. Fleming in Scottsdale, AZ for a checkup.

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photo credit: Brandon Heyer via photopin cc

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