If you brush your teeth twice each day, you're are miles ahead of those who aren't as vigilant in their daily oral hygiene routines when it comes to preventing gum disease. However, there are some other things you should do to help keep periodontal disease at bay. These are some simple daily habits that can really affect your overall gum health.
1. Brush for the right amount of time.
Even if you're already brushing, many people do not do a thorough job. You should spend about two minutes on cleaning your teeth each time you brush. A simple back and forth with a swish of water is not enough. Use gentle strokes and carefully clean your teeth and gum line. Make sure you get hard to reach places near the back and brush your tongue to help remove harmful bacteria.
2. Brush after all meals.
Brushing once before bed is better than not brushing at all, but ideally, your teeth should only be dirty when you eat. Brushing after meals cleans food residue, preventing bacteria in your mouth from feeding on lingering sugar. If brushing after each meal is not possible, at least try to get your teeth brushed after breakfast and dinner each day. Rinse out your mouth with water after eating to help dilute acids.
3. Skip the snacks and sodas.
Snacking is the enemy for your gums. Most snack foods are high in sugar and starch, and they linger in your mouth, leaving plenty of food for bacteria to feast on. With this food supply, they are better able to cause the irritation that leads to gum infection. The same idea applies to sugary drinks and soda. Between meals, your drink of choice should be water. If you want to enjoy lemonade, juice, milk, or soda, have it with a meal and drink it in one sitting instead of sipping it slowly over the course of a day. Constant sipping means constant refueling for the hungry bacteria in your mouth.
4. Use mouthwash and floss.
Mouthwash is a good addition to your normal health routine. It helps to flush out food and bacteria that your brush or your floss might have missed. Remember that brushing and mouthwash is not a substitute for floss. Floss is just as important as brushing your teeth, especially for the gums, because your gums can get inflamed from food and bacteria that get stuck near the gum line between the teeth.
If you are worried about whether or not you have periodontal disease, consider reaching out to resources like Tony Parsley, DMD to learn more.