Most people will admit they’ve had irritated gums that itch or bleed — it happens to everyone. Taking proper care of your gums can not only improve the health of your gums but make your teeth and smile look better too. Maintaining healthy gums is easy if you keep a few things in mind.

What Causes Gum Irritation?

If your gums are more red than usual, this is a common sign of gum irritation or gingivitis. Itching, bleeding and swelling are the most common symptoms of unhealthy gums. This inflammation is caused by plaque, the sticky film of bacteria that naturally forms over your teeth. When food builds up on your teeth and gum lines, this bacteria is able to make toxins that irritate gums and cause cavities.

Plaque that builds up for days creates tartar, a substance that won’t come off with regular brushing. Plaque and tartar both contribute to gum disease and gingivitis. Proper management of plaque will prevent tartar and keep your gums and teeth healthy. If, however, your teeth already have tartar, the only solution is professional dental cleaning from your dentist.

Brushing & Flossing

We were all taught how to brush our teeth but not everyone brushes correctly. Proper brushing is vital to your mouth’s continued health. The best way to brush is with fluoride toothpaste which helps fight plaque. Ditch the hard bristle brushes — a soft bristle toothbrush is better for removing plaque without damaging tooth enamel. Always brush at a 45 degree angle, where bristles point toward the gum line; this brushes plaque around the gums effectively. Brush the fronts, backs and chewing part of each tooth and always brush in a circular motion. Brushing your tongue helps remove bacteria and freshens breath.

Always brush twice a day, preferably around half an hour after eating. Don’t forget to floss daily as well to remove the plaque in places toothbrushes cannot reach. Brush and floss consistently and use proper technique and your mouth will be much healthier.

Avoid Refined Sugar

The plaque and bacteria in your mouth use sugar to weaken teeth by producing an acid. Avoiding product high in refined sugar such as soda, candy, fast food and sweet baked goods can improve your enamel and give healthier gums. Other products to consider are: bread, bananas, sugary cereal, and many more baked goods such as crackers.

Tobacco & Other Considerations

If you’ve ever read the label of a tobacco product, you’ll clearly see that it causes gum disease. Avoiding tobacco products such as cigarettes, cigars and chewing tobacco is crucial to gum health. Other risk factors for gum disease include: certain medications, infections, substance abuse, hormonal changes, stress and malnutrition.

A few small changes to routine can make a huge difference to your gums. Sometimes, it’s as simple as flossing and brushing.

Consult our dental team at Moore Smiles for more tips to keep your gums healthy and happy!