Are beautiful teeth and excellent oral health the same thing? Not always. Yet, in many cases, people focus so much on achieving an Instagram-worthy smile that they inadvertently ignore, or even mistreat, their gums.
Inadequate gum care can cause problems down the road, including bleeding gums, infections, and bad breath. On the bright side, most gum issues can be prevented or reversed by following these four simple tips from our dentists in Orlando.
You might have the straightest teeth out of everyone you know, but that won’t stop plaque from growing in between your pearly whites. Dental plaque is estimated to contain more than 1,000 strains of bacteria, some of which can cause cavities and irritate gums. Not flossing could result in gum disease (gingivitis), diminishing gum lines (recession), and bleeding gums.
There are many different types of dental floss available, including waxed and unwaxed flosses, dental floss picks, even water flossers — any of them should work. If you want the best choice for your teeth, our dentists are happy to give a recommendation based on your gum health, teeth gaps, and other factors. Just remember to continue flossing every day (with whatever floss you have) until your appointment with us. In regards to when is the best time to floss, that’s your call.
Many dentists recommend flossing right before bed — that way you can prevent plaque-causing food particles from remaining in your teeth while you get a full night’s sleep. But if you’re new to flossing, we encourage you to pick a convenient time and stick with it every day to get into the daily habit of flossing.
Let’s face it, bad breath is embarrassing. That’s why people with breath issues often ignore the problem or mask the odor. Unfortunately, keeping chewing gum in your purse or pocket isn’t an adequate substitute for a dental exam. Remember, a dentist isn’t a blind date that will reject you for having bad breath — as oral hygiene specialists, our dentists are here to help.
Not all bad breath is indicative of gum problems. Some foods create unpleasant odors that can be remediated by brushing your teeth or swishing around mouthwash. In other cases, bad breath can be caused by medical conditions and medications. But when bad breath happens frequently, the primary culprit is gingivitis, a gum infection. If left untreated, gingivitis can become periodontal disease, a more serious condition linked to diabetes and birth defects.
Flossing regularly is the best way to stop plaque-related bacterial infections that cause bad breath. If you have frequent bad-breath issues and suspect gum disease is the cause, contact our dental office in Orlando. Though some people fix bad breath by brushing and flossing more often, it’s better to see a dentist right away to rule out any serious oral health issues.
How does your toothbrush look after a month or two of use? If the bristles are smashed and pushed out in all directions, sort of like a frightened hedgehog, that shows you’re pressing too hard when brushing. Contrary to what many believe, brushing hard does not clean teeth better. Hard brushing causes more problems than it solves. Toothbrush bristles sweep away surface stains and remove plaque, but it's the tips, not the sides, that do the work. Brushing with too much force bends the bristles, rendering them less effective.
Aggressive brushing often results in gum soreness or even recession, which shrinks the gum line and creates more surface area for plaque to grow. This can result in a myriad of both gum issues and teeth problems. To brush correctly: place the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle along the gums and gently move the bristles up and down on each tooth. Then, straighten the brush and circularly rotate the bristles on the front and back of each tooth and on the tongue. Pay attention to toothbrush bristles over time; if they bend, you’re pressing too hard.
Following an at-home oral health regimen can help you maintain healthy gums and excellent overall dental hygiene. But long-term oral health is a collaborative effort between you and your dentist. We recommend scheduling teeth cleaning and an oral health checkup every 6 months with our Orlando dentists, so we can rule out any gum health issues. Bad breath and sore or bleeding gums can all be signs of gum disease and they can be prevented through regular brushing, flossing, and dental checkups.
At Thornton Park Dental Arts, we make it easy to schedule the dental services you need. Returning patients have their records kept on file for simple appointment-making. New patients can easily fill-out a new patient form online. For additional questions about oral health, gum care, and overall dental hygiene, please contact our office today.