How to Get Healthy Gums

Two Methods:Keeping Healthy GumsPreventing Gum Disease

A beautiful smile can brighten anyone's day and boost your own confidence levels. Keep your teeth and gums healthy to avoid gum disease or unsightly spots.

Method 1
Keeping Healthy Gums

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    Brush your teeth for 2 minutes twice a day. This is the number one step you can take to care for your teeth. Using a toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste, be sure to brush in the morning and evening every day. Set a timer for two minutes or listen to a short song to keep time.
    • Don't "scrub" your teeth hard -- hold the brush like a pencil and brush in light circles[1]
    • Hold the brush at a 45 degree angle, just along the edge of the gum line.
    • Be sure to brush your tongue and the roof of your mouth as well.
    • Replace your brush every 2-3 months.
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    Floss once a day. Flossing is still the most effective way to remove food and plaque from between your teeth, where it can irritate your gums if not removed. Be sure to get each tooth from each side.
    • The floss should form a "C" shape around the tooth.
    • Do not push too far into your gums -- goes as deep as the gum line but no further.
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    Use antibacterial mouthwash to clean your whole mouth. Your teeth only make up 25% of your mouth, and you need to keep the whole thing clean to prevent infections that lead to unhealthy gums. Use antibacterial mouthwash a few times a week, but avoid mouthwash with alcohol in it, as this causes more harm than good.[2]
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    Snack on "gum-friendly" foods. Sugary snacks, gum, and sodas all promote the growth of unhealthy bacteria in your mouth which lead to gum disease. Potato chips, crackers, and dried fruit can also stick to your teeth, and the residue can cause damage if it is not wiped away quickly. Since most people do not brush their teeth after snacking, these particles can remain on teeth for hours.
    • Foods rich in calcium, like dairy, are great for tooth health.
    • Vegetables, humus, and fresh fruit are all healthy alternatives for your mouth.
    • If you do eat sugary foods, rinse out with water afterwards when you cannot brush.[3]
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    Stay hydrated. Saliva is crucial for keeping your mouth healthy and the bacteria in balance. Drink 4-8oz of water ever hour -- especially when you feel thirsty or your mouth is dry.[4]
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    Visit your dentist and oral hygienist every 6 to 8 months. They are trained to notice any problems with your gums and can give you personalized suggestions to help you keep your gums happy and healthy. Be sure to make regular appointments, even if you don't think you have any problems.

Method 2
Preventing Gum Disease

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    Know if you are at risk of gum disease. There are several risk factors for gum disease that are out of your control. If you have any of the following factors, be sure to talk to your dentist about ways to prevent gum disease:
    • Diabetes
    • Family history of gum disease
    • Hormonal changes in women and girls
    • Medications that lead to dry mouth
    • Immune-affecting diseases like cancer or AIDS
    • Poor oral hygiene habits.[5]
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    Avoid smoking cigarettes. Smoking is one of the biggest risk factors for gum disease in the world, and can prevent successful treatment. The easiest way to avoid gum disease is to quit smoking.[6]
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    Get a professional cleaning twice a year. Almost all gum disease can be prevented by cleaning away plaque from your teeth, and your dentist or oral hygienist is the best equipped person to do so. Be sure to keep you your regular visits.
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    Know the symptoms of gum disease. Unchecked, gum diseases can damage the tissue and cartilage in your mouth and lead to tooth decay. If you experience any of the following symptoms chronically you should make an appointment with your dentist immediately:
    • Bad breath that won’t go away
    • Red or swollen gums
    • Tender or bleeding gums
    • Painful chewing
    • Loose teeth
    • Sensitive teeth
    • Receding gums (teeth appear "longer" than usual)[7]
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    Take action with your dentist before gum disease progresses. Gingivitis is when the gums become inflamed or swollen, and is not particularly dangerous by itself. However, if it is not cared for soon enough it can progress to periodontitis, where the gums detach from the tooth, allowing bacteria to enter and damage your teeth. If your gums don't feel better with regular brushing and flossing then you may need antibiotics or surgery to prevent disease.



  • Never try to "overbrush" by scrubbing hard or making your gums bleed -- you cause more harm than good.

Article Info

Categories: Teeth and Mouth