Do your gums bleed and get sore when you floss or brush? That isn’t a good sign! You might have gum disease, which can lead to severe complications if you address it soon.
Fortunately, there are several simple ways to keep your gums healthy and return them to good health in no time at all. Study the tips below to restore your gums to health.
Why Is Gum Health Important?
Healthy gums aren’t just important for oral health; problems with the gums can cause problems in other parts of the body.
For example, serious gum disease may increase inflammation all over the body, and this can damage the heart. You also may be at higher risk of stroke.
Research also indicates that healthy gums can improve lung function for people who have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Periodontal disease also can increase your risk of pneumonia and other respiratory infections.
And don’t forget that keeping your gums healthy benefits your emotional health and keep more expensive problems from developing. American dentists pull about 20 million teeth per year, which can lead to social embarrassment and low self-esteem, not to mention the average cost of braces exceeds $5000.
Improve Your Oral Hygiene
The first step to improving your gums is to refine your oral hygiene. Plaque buildup from failure to brush and floss correctly is a common cause of bleeding gums.
Plaque is the sticky film that coats our gums and teeth, and if you don’t do your part to control it, this bacteria can spread and create cavities and bleeding gums.
You can improve your oral hygiene swiftly by brushing twice a day and flossing at least once.
Use a Hydrogen Peroxide Rinse
Many of us have hydrogen peroxide in our bathroom or kitchen for washing cuts and wounds. But did you know this disinfectant works on your teeth and gums as well?
Science shows that hydrogen peroxide can reduce plaque, increase gum health, and stop bleeding gums in its tracks. If you’re experiencing bleeding gums, rinse your mouth with a 50/50 solution of hydrogen peroxide and water for about one minute. But make sure you don’t swallow it.
Studies confirm that swishing with hydrogen peroxide can enhance gum health. A clinical study of 100 subjects was given the antiseptic every day for a month, and the test group developed a lower incidence of gum disease than the control group.
If you use hydrogen peroxide daily on your teeth and gums, you should have less need to visit a dentist, and that’s always good.
Use Saltwater Rinse
Rinsing your mouth with warm salt water can lower bacteria levels and boost healing. You can make a rinse by mixing ½ teaspoon of salt into one eight-ounce glass of water.
Rinse your mouth with the solution after you’ve brushed to keep your gums healthy.
Smoking doesn’t just lead to heart disease, lung cancer, and stroke; it also damages the gums. However, you can stop your gums from bleeding when you stop smoking.
Also, note that tobacco use damages the immune system, which can make you more susceptible to illness, including your body’s ability to fight bacteria in your mouth. This often leads to bleeding gums that may eventually recede and damage the teeth.
Get a New Toothbrush
If you have sensitive, bleeding gums, you could substitute a toothbrush that has extra-soft bristles. Many people believe a firm brush is better for the teeth and gums, but that can be so harsh it makes the gums recede.
Dentists recommend replacing your toothbrush every three or four months, or when the bristles look worn and bent.
When you brush, make sure you’re gentle and don’t scrub; brushing too hard can damage the gums and enamel over time.
When brushing the chewing surfaces, use short strokes from side to side. Get a new toothbrush when you notice the bristles are fraying. Or, simply replace it every 90 days.
Floss, But Not Too Hard
If you haven’t been flossing, the first few times may cause bleeding gums. But after three or four days, the bleeding should stop.
Flossing every day will improve your gum health, but make sure to do it gently so you don’t irritate your gums.
Don’t Eat Starchy Foods
People believe sugary foods cause tooth decay, but starchy foods can be equally to blame. For example, cake, cookies, processed bread, crackers, and chips will stick to your teeth and gums. This can cause gum inflammation and lead to tooth decay.
Also, you should avoid sweets that stick to the teeth, such as taffy, pastries, and caramels. When you eat candy, rinse your mouth with water for 30 seconds. Or brush if you have time.
Leafy green vegetables, including kale, spinach, and arugula, all contain vitamin K and other vital nutrients that benefit gum health. Not getting enough vitamin K can cause clotting problems, which also leads to bleeding gums.
Bleeding gums can eventually cause serious dental problems, but luckily, you can turn things around fairly soon if you follow the gum health tips above.