September is National Gum Care Month, and it is a great time to brush up on the habits that can keep your mouth healthy and clean. Make each of the following activities part of your daily oral care routine to protect yourself from the ravages of gum disease.
1. Brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste. Sticky plaque builds up on the teeth continually, and if left there it quickly develops into tartar, a hard substance that can only be removed by a professional. Both plaque and tartar contribute to gum disease.
2. Floss regularly. Regularly, in this instance, should be interpreted as “every day”. Brushing removes plaque from your teeth, but only floss can clean below the gumline.
3. Use mouthwash to remove small particles and reduce plaque. Mouthwash is no substitute for brushing and flossing, but when used alongside other healthy habits it can freshen breath, eliminate bacteria and keep teeth strong.
4. Floss with water. A water irrigator, also known as an oral irrigator or a dental water jet, is a device that shoots a stream of water between the teeth to remove plaque and bacteria. Add it to your morning routine for a really fresh, deep cleaning.
5. Eat a nutritious diet. A healthy, balanced diet that is rich in vitamins and nutrients and low in sugar can boost the immune system and help your body fight off harmful bacteria, inflammation and infection. If you want to keep your teeth white, don’t forget to eat your greens!
6. Make friends with your dentist. See your dentist every six months for a good cleaning. He or she can also assess the health of your teeth and gums and refer you to a periodontist if you are experiencing any problems. Early treatment of gum disease is important. Left unchecked, it can destroy teeth, gums, bones and connective tissue, and contribute a variety of health problems.