How do I maintain healthy gums?

Carol Jahn
The best way to maintain healthy gums is have a good relationship with your dentist and dental hygienist and visit them as often as they recommend for exams and professional cleanings. 

It is also essential that you practice good daily home care. This means brushing twice daily and cleaning between your teeth once a day. The most often recommend way for cleaning between teeth is dental floss. However, flossing can be challenging for many people. The good news is that there are other products that work as well as floss and are easier to use. These include toothpicks, interdental brushes, and a Water Flosser.
Diana K. Blythe, MD
In order to maintain healthy gums, you use the same guidelines as you would for maintaining healthy teeth. While brushing and flossing after every meal or snack is the best way to go, busy schedules sometimes hamper this goal. At the very least, brush your teeth twice daily with fluoride toothpaste for two minutes.

Make sure you do not eat or drink anything except water between the last time you brush your teeth and going to bed. Also, floss your teeth before bed to make sure there are no food particles that sit between your teeth all night long.

The best way to keep your gums healthy is to practice good oral hygiene. A good routine practiced for a few minutes each day can help reduce your risk of getting periodontal disease and tooth decay.

  • Brush your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste.
  • Floss or use another between-the-tooth cleaner daily to remove plaque and bits of food from areas your toothbrush can't reach.
  • If you need extra help controlling gingivitis and plaque, your dentist or hygienist may recommend using an ADA-accepted germ-fighting mouthrinse or other oral hygiene aid.
  • Eat a balanced diet for good general health and limit snacks.
  • Schedule regular dental visits. Professional cleanings are the only way to remove tartar, which traps bacteria along the gum line.
Brushing your teeth after every meal or at minimum in the morning and after your last meal or snack of the day, with the right choice of toothpaste, is the first step. Flossing your teeth and gums daily is step two. Also, several foods promote dental health and your health in general. 

Salmon -- Its polyunsaturated fats that include omega-3 fatty acids may help to reduce the risk of gum inflammation or periodontitis, and also promote heart health.

Green tea -- Several cups a day can promote heart health and may help to reduce the risk of certain cancers.  It may also help to decrease gum disease.

And one excellent habit to embrace is to limit night time eating since saliva production decreases as you near your bedtime. If you eat without adequate saliva production, you’re more likely to have lingering food debris. Food debris that is not cleared completely from your mouth puts you at risk for cavities and gum inflammation.
You can maintain the health of your gums by taking care of them and developing healthy habits. Make sure you brush properly and floss every day. See your dentist for regular cleanings to help ensure that your gums look and feel well. With proper care, your gums can stay healthy throughout your life. The healthier your gums are, the less risk you have for tooth decay and gum disease.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.