Unfortunately, gingivitis (gum disease) is very common. But completely preventable.
Here’s some simple ways to keep your teeth and gums healthy:
If you keep your teeth and gums healthy, you will only need to visit the dentist for cleanings and checkups. Not major treatment.
1. Brush properly
Brush for two to three minutes, at least twice a day, with fluoridated toothpaste. Be sure to brush along the gumline. Scrub away the fragments of food Don’t brush too hard, but be thorough. Scrubbing your gums aggressively can be painful and is a BIG don’t.
2. Floss daily
Flossing removes plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. Don’t like to floss? Try a floss holder, which makes it far less complicated to insert floss between teeth. But get over your aversion to flossing, unless you want cavities or periodontitis (advanced gum disease).
3. Use a mouth rinse
Although not a substitute for brushing and flossing, using a mouth rinse can prevent plaque accumulation and keep your enamel strong. Remember that fluoride mouth rinses are not the same as mouthwashes. Mouthwashes have alcohol and are designed to freshen breath. (But they can contribute to dry mouth which can cause other problems.)
4. Eat a healthy diet
Starchy and sugary foods increase plaque. A sensible diet provides the nutrients necessary (Vitamins A and C, in particular) to keep teeth and gums healthy.
5. Abstain from cigarettes and smokeless tobacco
Both of these habits may lead to gingivitis (gum disease) or oral cancer. While you’re at it, avoid E-cigs and vapors.
6. Check your meds
Be aware that certain medications can also threaten a healthy smile. These include oral contraceptives, antidepressants and heart medicines. If your medications are affecting your dental health, talk to Dr. Acton.
7. Make preventative care a priority
Exercise preventive care and schedule regular exams — the ideal way to detect early signs of gum disease and make a plan to reverse it.
8. Talk to your dentist
Talk to your dentist about dental issues such as old, broken fillings or crowded teeth.
9. Protect your teeth
If you grind your teeth, talk with Dr. Acton about ways to protect your smile. If you participate in contact sports, use a custom mouthguard.
Listed above are nine simple ways to ensure your teeth don’t decay, or worse, fall out completely. It’s critical to brush your teeth in the morning and at night. Bonus points for brushing and/or rinsing after lunch. Thorough, daily oral hygiene also keeps your breath fresh. Your friends, family, and co-workers will appreciate that!