Do your gums bleed a little when you brush your teeth or floss between them? Maybe you've noticed that your gums are sore or a little swollen. These are all signs that you're in the initial stages of gum disease. While gum disease can be serious if left unchecked, the good news is that if you catch it early, you can usually fight it off just by making some changes in your oral hygiene routine. Here's a look at some simple changes you'll want to make.
Brush more often.
If you're not brushing twice per day, it's time to make that a priority. In fact, if you can manage it, you may want to brush three times per day. Keep a toothbrush in your desk at work so that you can brush after lunch or some other time in the middle of the day. The longer you wait between brushing sessions, the longer any sugars from your last meal or snack will sit on your teeth, feeding the oral bacteria that cause gum disease.
Brush your tongue.
If you're not brushing your tongue, then bacteria that cause gum disease may be lingering on your tongue and quickly re-populating your teeth and gums after your brushing session. You can purchase a tongue scraper and use it to clean your tongue, or you can just get into the habit of brushing your tongue gently at the end of each tooth brushing session.
Make flossing a priority.
Nobody likes flossing. It takes too long and it's not easy to wedge the floss between your teeth. But if you want to get over gum disease, you really do need to floss daily to remove the plaque, bacteria, and food particles from between your teeth. If you have trouble remembering to floss, keep your floss in your purse or wallet so you can use it anytime during the day that you come across it and happen to remember.
Use an antibacterial mouthwash.
Finish each brushing session with an antibacterial mouthwash like Listerine. This will kill any bacteria that you have not effectively removed with brushing. If you absolutely cannot stand the taste or mouthwash or are allergic to the ingredients, try using a salt water rinse instead. It will also kill bacteria and soothe your irritated gums.
If your gum disease symptoms don't fade within a week or two, talk to your dentist. They may recommend more aggressive treatments like antibiotics or deep cleaning. Check out websites like http://www.thefamilydentist-lakeland.com for more information.