4 Practices to Keep Your Gums Healthy

Posted on: 14 August 2015

Your gums are important supportive tissues in your mouth. If they become damaged or infected, tooth loss can result. Nevertheless, maintaining good dental hygiene can affect the health of your gums. Here are a few things you can do to keep your gums in good shape:

Rinse your mouth with fluoridated water after eating.

After you eat a meal, if you don't have a toothbrush or floss handy, rinse your mouth with fluoridated water. Most tap water contains fluoride, so you shouldn't have to make special accommodations to practice after-meal rinsing. 

Plaque is composed of food debris and oral bacteria, which promote an acidic environment inside your mouth. The fluoride in the water helps strengthen teeth, but it also helps prevent gums from being exposed to irritating acid and plaque.

Bacteria release acid as they digest sugars in your mouth. This acid can erode tooth enamel and inflame gums. However, fluoride helps prevent acid buildup by stopping the digestive process of the oral bacteria. The mechanism is not completely understood, but fluoride lowers the acid tolerance of the bacteria, preventing them from producing more acid.

Rinsing your mouth with water also washes away food particles that provide carbohydrates for bacteria to feed upon.  

In addition, the water dilutes the acid that is already present in your mouth. 

Use a germ-fighting mouth rinse.

After you brush and floss, use a germ-fighting mouth rinse to help kill remaining bacteria in the mouth. Sometimes brushing and flossing may leave bacteria that lie just under the gum line intact. However, a mouth rinse can reach spaces between teeth and along the gum line that may have been inadvertently missed during brushing and flossing. 

Use a tongue scraper. 

Large numbers of bacteria in your mouth lie in the crevices and grooves of your tongue. When you scrape your tongue regularly, you scrape away many of the microorganisms that reside there. Not only do these bacteria irritate the gums through acid production, they can also serve as the bacterial source of a gum infection. 

Chew sugarless gum with xylitol.

Some sugarless gum contains xylitol as a sweetener. Xylitol is known to inhibit the growth of oral bacteria. In fact, it can reduce the number of oral bacteria that produces acid by up to 90 percent. 

To keep your gums healthy, practice good oral hygiene to lower the number of oral bacteria in your mouth. If your gums start to show signs of inflammation, such as redness, swelling, or bleeding, contact a periodontist, like one from Washington Township Dental Associates, to schedule an appointment. 


About Marcel and the Dentist

Hi, my name is Marcel. Welcome to my site! I started it to help others learn about children's dentistry. Most of us don't remember dentist trips from our early childhood. Maybe we didn't even really care about our teeth until we started losing baby teeth. In my case, I became interested in children's dentistry as a young father. When my kids were young, I was a student, and our insurance did not cover visits to the dentist. Although my wife and I tried to teach our kids good hygiene on our own, it was difficult. When we we finally able to take them to the dentist, my little girls were scared and didn't know what was going on. Luckily, they appreciate the dentist now that they are older, but their first experiences helped teach me more about the importance of children's dentistry. Hopefully you can learn from my experiences!