Keeping Your Gums Healthy

preventative dentistryIt’s no secret that brushing daily and flossing regularly are crucial to your oral health. But healthy gums also play an important role in keeping your smile looking its best. Neglecting your gums can cause gum disease, an infection that occurs when plaque is not removed from your teeth by proper brushing and flossing. And gum disease is one of the main culprits for tooth loss in adults. And if left untreated, gum disease can lead to more serious issues like periodontitis. Gum disease isn’t painful, so you may not even know you have it. However, there are other symptoms that could suggest the presence of gum disease, including:

  • Gums that are red or swollen
  • Bleeding gums
  • Chronic bad breath
  • Gums that pull away from your teeth
  • Loose teeth

Improving your overall gum health begins with the right flossing technique. Wrap a piece of floss about 18 inches long around each of your index fingers and hold in place with your thumbs. Then slide the floss between your teeth and wrap it around each tooth in a “C” shape, working the floss up and down. If it feels awkward to use hand-held floss, try a two-pronged floss holder to easily maneuver between your teeth.

Proper brushing technique is also essential for healthy gums. To make sure you’re doing everything you can to keep your smile in check, be sure to do the following:

  • Hold your toothbrush properly. To make sure you’re reaching the gumline, hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle aimed towards your gums.
  • Use short, gentle strokes. Moving the brush from side to side, use small strokes along the front and back of your teeth and gums.
  • Don’t forget your tongue. Brushing your tongue gets rid of harmful bacteria that lingers in your mouth.

In addition to brushing and flossing, make it a point to visit your dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings to keep your gums – and the rest of your mouth – healthy.

To learn more about caring for your gums, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Marshall or call 540-373-2273. We look forward to hearing from you!

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