Mish Sachdev

How Can I Make My Gums Healthy Again?

Tooth floss

Gums can become unhealthy when plaque begins to build up under and along the gum line. Plaque is a sticky film-like substance which is filled with bacteria and can cause infections which hurt the gum and bone, leading to potential gum disease and tooth decay. The earliest stage of gum disease is gingivitis, which can cause gums to become swollen, sore, red, and highly prone to bleeding. Fortunately, as the bone and tissue holding the teeth in place are not impacted at this initial stage, the damage is reversible.

In the more advanced stages of gum disease periodontitis can occur, and this impacts the bones which hold the teeth in place. If this issue is left untreated, it can ruin not only the gums, but also the bones, and tissues which are connected to your teeth. The final stage of gum disease is advanced periodontitis, which is when the fibers and bone supporting the teeth are eradicated. This can impact your bite and may lead to teeth having to be removed.

Many patients are keen to know how they can improve their gum health, particularly after experiencing gum disease. There are six key measures which should be undertaken to improve gum health:

Brushing teeth regularly

It is essential to brush your teeth following every meal to remove the food and plaque trapped between your teeth and gums. The chosen toothbrush should have soft bristles and be able to fit in your mouth comfortably. Additionally, you should consider using a battery-powered or electric toothbrush, as these brushes can help reduce gingivitis and plaque more than manual toothbrushes. Whichever toothbrush is used it is essential to replace the brush or brush head at least every 3-4 months. This helps avoid the bristles fraying and reducing the effectiveness of your brushing technique.

Using fluoride toothpaste

Ensure you use a fluoride toothpaste, when possible, as this helps infiltrate the enamel’s surface and reach areas that brushing alone cannot reach. It helps make the tooth surface harder through remineralisation, and subsequently more resistance to bacteria. Following brushing with a fluoride toothpaste it is beneficial to spit out the paste but not rinse your mouth – this helps maximise the benefits of the fluoride.

Flossing teeth and scrubbing your tongue

Flossing your teeth, a minimum of once a day is essential to remove the plaque and food that your toothbrush cannot reach. The time that you floss is not essential; however, it is useful to floss before sleep to ensure any food debris in between teeth does not remain on your teeth overnight. Scrubbing your tongue is also essential, as bacteria can linger on the tongue if left uncleaned and can cause considerable damage.

Use a therapeutic mouthwash

Rinsing your mouth with a therapeutic mouthwash improves your oral health by removing food particles and debris in the mouth. In turn, this can decrease plaque, prevent gingivitis, and inhibit tartar development. While using mouthwash is not an effective substitute for brushing and flossing teeth or scrubbing your tongue, it can help at times when the other options are not available.

Regular dental visits and dental cleanings

Visiting your dentist regularly allows your dentist to detect any early gum disease signs before they become more advanced. This allows minor symptoms to be treated early and helps keep your oral health and gums in top condition. Regular professional dental cleaning is also essential as it is the only way to effectively remove tartar. These cleanings also eradicate any plaque you missed when undertaking your normal oral health routine, and it can help reverse gingivitis if you suffer from it.

Quitting smoking

One of the more difficult (but highly effective) measures to undertake is to quit smoking. This is an extremely valuable step to take when trying to improve gum health because smoking is strongly associated with gum disease. This is due to it weakening the immune system and making it harder to fight off a gum infection. Additionally, smoking can make it much more difficult for gums to heal once they have been damaged.