Besides our routine check ups at our favorite dentist, there are issues that we can address at home to assure us clean dental health. First of all, our gums are not made of steel. They are strong but yet gentle and sensitive. Taking care of our gums is just as important as taking care of our teeth.
Lets start off with improper dental care :
Vigorous brushing - Your tooth brush can be your friend or foe. Use a soft bristle tooth brush as not to damage your gums. Vigorous brushing can bruise the gum tissue.
Improper flossing - Trying to floss deep within the gum line will loosen the gums surrounding the teeth. Eventually, this will start to create gum pockets and again, bruise the gum tissue. Flossing with a gentle motion at the gum line will remove the majority of plaque.
No time limit on brushing - Most of us will give ourselves a 15 second brushing that we think should be adequate . However, this is not nearly enough time to really clean our teeth. At least two minutes of brushing will remove most of the food particles. Remember, brushing alone will only remove 50 % of the bacteria.
Toothpicks - Toothpicks are great when we don’t have our tooth brush with us. However, we do have a tendency of using toothpicks as a jack hammer. This not only does damage to our gums, but by probing the gums surrounding the teeth, we stretch the gums outward causing gum pockets to widen. If you are going to use toothpicks, be gentle with your gums.
Bacteria usually forms in our mouth within an hour after eating. If left unchecked, the bacteria will start to feed on plaque ( a sticky film that surrounds our teeth, usually at the gum line. ) This is why it’s important to brush soon after eating. In this busy world, not everyone carries a toothbrush with them. Using a pocket mouth wash is a convenient way to eliminate most of the bacteria before it starts to do any damage.
Be careful of the mouthwash that you use. Mouthwashes that contain alcohol will dry up the saliva. Bacteria loves to breed in a dry environment. Chewing on sugarless candy or gum will keep a continuous flow of saliva to protect against dry mouth conditions.
Some toothpastes contain SLD ( sodium lauryl sulfate ). SLD is a foaming agent used in commercial cleaners. It also is a big irritant to our gums. The next time you shop for toothpaste, please read the ingredients.
Massaging the gums with an over the counter gum conditioner is an excellent way to keep your gums in a healthy condition. Massaging the gums increases the blood flow to maintain good circulation.
Gum disease starts with bacteria forming inside of gum pockets. ( the space between the tooth and the gum.) These harmful bacterium if not eliminated in time, will destroy gum tissue and continue until bone loss occurs. At this stage, gums will start to recede giving little support to the teeth. If when looking in the mirror and noticing that the teeth appear longer than usual, gum recession has started.
A trip to the dentist twice a year and buying a good gum conditioner and wisely using it every day, will not only eliminate destructive bacteria but will restore our gums back to a healthy condition.
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