When it comes to overall health, your gums might not be at the top of your list of concerns. However, gum health is a lot more important than some people might think. Healthy teeth require healthy gums, so a bright white smile is only possible if you put just as much focus on your gums. Poor gum health can also lead to more wide-ranging health complications, including:

  • Heart disease
  • Strokes
  • Diabetes
  • Pregnancy complications
  • and even dementia

Here are a few simple tips you can use to make sure your gums stay happy and healthy.

Brush Properly

Everyone knows how important it is to brush their teeth. However, you also have to make sure you’re doing it correctly. If you’re not brushing properly, then you’re not getting any of the benefits of regular brushing. The American Dental Association recommends following these guidelines for brushing:

  • Brush at least twice a day
  • Use a soft-bristle brush and fluoride toothpaste
  • Replace your toothbrush every three or four months
  • Brush your teeth at a 45-degree angle to your gums
  • Brush gently, and use short strokes
  • Make sure to clean the inside of your teeth by turning the brush vertically

Use the Right Toothpaste

There are a ton of different kinds of toothpaste on the market, and it can be difficult to pick the right one. Some toothpaste brands use extra ingredients like baking soda or breath-freshening chemicals. The most important thing, however, is to make sure you’re choosing a tube with fluoride in it. Everything else can be helpful but isn’t necessarily required. Make sure you’re picking a brand that has the ADA seal of approval on it.

7 Tips for Better Gum Health

Floss Every Day

Flossing is one of the most commonly overlooked parts of a good oral health regimen, but it’s also one of the most important. Flossing once a day helps to clean out the spaces in between your teeth that regular brushing can’t reach. These crevices collect food and plaque, and can easily become a hotspot for tartar and bacteria if you’re not careful. Flossing just once a day can have a huge effect on the health of your teeth and gums, so make sure not to overlook it.

Wash Out Your Mouth

It’s not necessary to brush your teeth after every meal – just twice a day should suffice. However, it’s generally a good idea to rinse your mouth with water after eating, just to wash away some of the food and bacteria left over. Make sure not to wash out your mouth after brushing though! While it seems like a good idea to rinse after brushing your teeth, it’ll actually wash away the fluoride leftover from the toothpaste.

Use Mouthwash

Mouthwash can be a great addition to your daily oral health routine. Along with brushing and flossing, rinsing your mouth with mouthwash can help kill bacteria and wash away particles of food from between your teeth. However, mouthwash is only effective in conjunction with brushing and flossing. Mouthwash isn’t a replacement for either brushing or flossing, and your mouth will suffer if you only rinse. Mouthwash isn’t recommended for small children under the age of six, since they might swallow it.

Visit the Dentist Regularly

Look, nobody likes to visit the dentist. But the unfortunate truth is that a yearly visit is an important part of keeping your teeth and gums healthy and happy. Getting your teeth cleaned at the dentist’s office is the only way to get rid of tartar, while can start to build up after only a couple of days on your teeth. A dentist can also identify any signs of gingivitis or other gum diseases, so make sure you’re keeping up with your regular visits.

Choose Healthy Habits

The road to healthy teeth and gums starts with what you choose to put in your mouth. Acidic food and drinks like soda can wreak havoc on your teeth. Habits like smoking can put you at risk for gum disease even if you’re brushing and flossing regularly. Try talking to your dentist to get a list of healthy and unhealthy habits for your gum health, and give yourself a solid foundation you can use to keep your pearly whites healthy and clean.