When people deal with their oral health they tend to focus on their teeth. Cavity prevention, brushing, flossing and whitening are all top concerns for people but this means that, quite often, gum health gets overlooked if it gets considered at all. But overlooking your gums can lead to real problems down the road and the best way to keep them in good health is to look for warning signs of a problem. Bleeding gums can often be one of the hallmarks of gum disease and this can happen while brushing or flossing.
Brushing and Your Gums
Many people scrub their teeth – using excess force thinking that the harder they scrub, the deeper they’re cleaning. In actuality, scrubbing at your teeth can actually harm your enamel, mouth tissue and, of course, your gum line. Your gums provide vital support to your teeth as well as your overall oral health. Flossing is another way in which people inadvertently damage their gums while thinking they’re doing what they can to keep them healthy. Couple these overzealous dental hygiene routines with a harsh alcohol based mouth rinse and it’s no wonder so many people experience painful swelling and even bleeding from the gum line.
Taking Care of Your Gums
When brushing, be sure that you keep your gums in mind. Don’t scrub away at the flesh and take care when brushing along the lower parts of the teeth. Flossing, on the other hand, must happen all the way down to the gum line in order to remove the build up of food from between the teeth. Luckily, the dental health industry understands that many people struggle with this problem and, as a result, they have offered up a number of flossing alternatives.
Thin Floss, usually referred to as tape, is much thinner than traditional waxed floss. This allows the floss to slide fairly easily in between even very tight teeth and can cut down on the problem where people force the floss between their teeth and then cut into their gums. Flossers are also available, where the floss itself is held by a device that helps to prevent it from harming the gums. Finally, for those who have gums already swollen, red or otherwise inflamed, there are sensitive formula mouth washes which provide all the cleaning and protection your teeth need, but made with less alcohol and so are less likely to further irritate your gums.
When to Get Help
More than 75% of Americans over the age of 35 struggle with some form of gum disease. For the vast majority its nothing more than gingivitis which is a much less severe form of gum disease. However, there are those for whom the disease has advanced and while home care is a vital line of first defense, it’s important to know when to seek professional help. If your teeth don’t fit together as they used to or if your teeth are simply beginning to feel loose, then this can be a serious red flag. Getting in for a dental appointment can help not only save your gums – but your teeth as well. If the condition is caught early enough, there’s a good chance your dentist will be able to get you smiling again – as well as imparting advice on how to best care for your own gums.