Believe it or not, the health of your gums is a dentist’s number one priority. That’s because not only is gum disease the number one cause of tooth loss in the world, there is decades of evidence-based research showing an association between the health of a person’s gums and the overall health of their body.

Gum disease can predispose you to several complications, like heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and even cancer. Worse, if you’re over the age of thirty, there is a fifty percent chance you already have it, according to the CDC.

Lucky for you, there are three simple practices you can follow to maintain a healthy smile.

young family discussing how to best brush your teeth

Using Proper Brushing Technique

There’s a good chance you’ve already heard that regularly brushing and flossing is one of the best methods for keeping your smile healthy. Probably, you’ve even heard that includes brushing twice a day, once before bed and once when you wake up. What you may not have heard is how much brushing technique actually affects the health of your gums, and that most are doing it incorrectly.

Proper brushing technique isn’t back and forth, but taking care to brush in small, circular motions. The idea is to imagine your mouth separated into several quadrants, and to carefully brush each tooth and quadrant in a way that cleans both your teeth and gums. One way to do this is to brush at a 45-degree angle, taking care to catch the gums, and another is to brush in small circles. Just make sure not to brush too hard. You can easily damage your tooth and gums this way. Plaque, enemy of both teeth and gums, is only the consistency of yogurt. It doesn’t take much to brush it away. Don’t forget to change out your toothbrush every 3 months!

Floss Once a Day

No oral hygiene routine is complete without flossing. Unfortunately, your toothbrush just isn’t precise enough to clean between your teeth. It needs some help! That’s where flossing comes in. Just like brushing, however, many people tend to floss incorrectly. Start with around twelve to sixteen inches of floss wrapped around your fingers, and gently hug the floss to the side of your teeth, and dip between gum line. Do this with every tooth, making sure to dip between the gum line on each side. Avoid snapping floss between teeth, as this could cause unnecessary pain.

Consider your brushing and flossing to be your daily gum health check, too. If you tend to bleed more days than not, you likely have gum disease and should make an appointment quickly.

Don’t Skip Out on Dental Appointments

The American Dental Association recommends visiting your dentist every six months — and for good reason! Even the best oral hygiene routines will fail at removing all the plaque the collects on our teeth, and eventually this plaque will harden into tartar. Tartar becomes a hardened shelter for oral bacteria to attack your teeth and gums. Once this happens, normal brushing and flossing will no longer be able to remove it, which is where your dentist comes in. They will remove tartar, check your mouth for signs of oral cancer, and also check for other oral complications like tooth decay. Like most things, oral complications don’t happen overnight. Being proactive will give your mouth a better shot at staying healthy!

If you are in Wichita Falls, TX or surrounding areas and looking to protect the health and beauty of your smile, please call our dentists at 940-322-2252 today for an appointment at StarImage Dentistry.