If maintaining a great grin is one of your goals, you know that taking care of your teeth is essential. What about your gums? After all, unhealthy gums can lead to tooth loss and other dental disasters. Clearly, cultivating healthy gum habits is an essential part of any oral health care routine. Here are seven tips for healthy gums and a confident smile.

1. Know the Signs of Gum Disease
The first step in fighting an enemy is recognizing it. Gum disease is an inflammation of the gum tissue that is typically caused by a bacterial infection. Plaque is often to blame. Red, tender, swollen or bleeding gums are often the first signs of gum disease. Bad breath and tooth sensitivity can also be warning signs. If you don’t act when you first notice these signs, things will get worse. The damage may progress to include receding gums, loose teeth and tooth loss.

2. Brush Your Teeth Properly
If you want healthy gums, brushing your teeth properly is crucial. Your goal is to remove the bulk of the bacteria, debris and plaque from your teeth and the surrounding tissues before it can cause harm. To do that, choose your tools wisely. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle, use short strokes, or glide gently with a battery-powered toothbrush. Remember to be gentle so that you don’t harm your gums. To clean the backs of your teeth, make short strokes while holding the toothbrush vertically. Be sure to replace the toothbrush every three months or whenever it shows wear.

3. Brush Your Tongue
Bacteria can also linger on the surface of the tongue. Cleaning it gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush will remove the bacteria and prevent them from resettling on the teeth or gums.

4. Floss
Aren’t you tired of dentists telling you to floss? Well, it’s important. Flossing gets to spots that your toothbrush can’t, removing food and plaque. Keeping these hard-to-reach areas cleaner reduces your risk of developing both cavities and gum disease.

5. Use Mouthwash
Swishing with a mouthwash can remove food and other debris from around your teeth. However, not all mouthwashes are equal. Ideally, you’ll want to choose a therapeutic mouthwash with the American Dental Association seal on the label. While this product isn’t meant to be a substitute for brushing and flossing, it can help prevent gum disease and promote healthy gums. It also helps to reduce the formation of plaque and slow the speed of tartar buildup.

6. Choose Healthier Foods and Beverages
Eating nutritious fruits and vegetables that are rich in vitamins and minerals provides your body with useful tools that keep it functioning smoothly. Meanwhile, snacking on sugary snacks and sweet drinks can be bad news for your smile and your overall health. Bacteria find sugar delightful, so consuming sugary snacks that cling to your teeth can speed plaque formation.

7. Visit Your Dentist for Regular Checkups
Experts generally encourage people to see their dentists for checkups every six months. Professional cleaning is essential for regular dental checkups. No matter how carefully you brush your teeth, you’re sure to miss something. This debris hardens over time into a substance called tartar. Tackling tartar requires professional tools and techniques. That’s why your smile always feels cleaner and brighter after your checkup.

By following these important steps, you are on your way to healthier gums. Are you searching for cosmetic or general dentistry services in the Apopka, Longwood, Altamonte area? Reach out to Wekiva Dental for a consultation. Our goal is always to help you achieve an amazing and healthy smile.