Why is gum health so important?
Similar to the rest of our bodies, our mouths harbour bacteria that become harmful when left alone. It is vital to maintain gum health to keep a healthy smile and ensure teeth last a lifetime. Bacteria in the mouth can lead to tooth decay, infection and inflammation of the gums. Bacteria causes gingival disease which affects the gums and bone supporting the teeth. This process ultimately leads to mobility and tooth loss. Gingival disease and periodontal disease are linked to many systemic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and strokes. Periodontal disease is connected to premature births and low-birth weight babies.
The key to healthy gums is a good home care routine. Many patients think brushing two times a day is enough for a healthy smile. However, brushing alone only removes a portion of the harmful bacteria in the mouth. Home care routines can vary based on a person’s mouth, teeth, restorations, and dexterity.
Home care to maintain healthy gums
For most patients, brushing using a rolling stroke technique in addition to nightly flossing between the teeth is sufficient. The rolling stroke is performed by placing the bristles of the toothbrush at the gumline. Then pointing the brush toward the root of the tooth and brushing away towards the crown of the tooth. This technique should be used on inside and outside of upper and lower teeth. Brushing needs to include the chewing surfaces of the teeth. Brushing needs to be done for 2 minutes 2 times a day at a minimum.
When flossing, it is critical to adapt to the tooth surface to floss the side of the tooth and remove the bacteria beneath the gums. Alternatively, an electric toothbrush can be used instead of the manual brushing technique for 2 minutes 2 times a day.
Individuals with larger spaces or compromised dexterity will benefit from aids such as proxabrush and soft picks. Floss threaders and floss are needed in individuals with retention wires following orthodontics, bridges or teeth bonded together. Gum stimulation with a rubber tip stimulator improves blood flow to the gums.
Ask your dental hygienist about cleaning aids you would benefit from to maintain a healthy smile at your next cleaning. Contact us to schedule your visit now.