We tend to focus on our teeth when it comes to trying to boost our oral health, but the gums are equally important. If you’re keen to keep your gums healthy, here are 5 things you should avoid:
- Smoking: smoking is a risk factor for gum disease because it reduces blood flow to your gums. It can also slow the natural healing processes down, which makes it more difficult to recover from infection.
- Poor oral hygiene: plaque is the most common cause of gum disease and decay. Plaque is a sticky substance, which is made from saliva, bacteria and food debris. If you don’t clean your teeth properly, there’s a high risk of plaque forming and you may be vulnerable to cavities and gum disease.
- Waiting for dental checks: it’s so important to see your dentist on a regular basis, even if you think your teeth and gums are in good condition. Sometimes, symptoms aren’t obvious, and your dentist is trained to spot early warning signs. Going to the dentist frequently can reduce your risk of decay and gum disease by up to 60 percent.
- Putting off going to the dentist: if you spot signs of gum disease, don’t wait to go to the dentist. Gum disease is a progressive disease, and it’s much easier to manage in the early stages. If gum disease is left untreated, it causes permanent damage to the bone that supports the gums, resulting in tooth loss. Signs to look out for include swollen and sore gums and bleeding when you brush.
- Sugary and acidic foods: keep an eye on your diet, especially what you eat between meals. When you eat sugary foods, bacteria in the mouth release acids, and these attack the enamel and the gums. If you’re eating all day, your mouth will be under acid attack constantly, and you’ll be at risk of gum disease and decay.