You always hear about how important it is to brush your teeth — and trust us, that is incredibly important — but one of the things you don’t hear about quite as often is how important it is to take good care of your gums. There’s a great line on The Office where Michael says that his New Year’s resolution is to start flossing: “I made a resolution to floss, and I did it; 12:01 January 1st — Bam! Blood everywhere.” Quite honestly, that’s something that a lot of people can probably relate to.

At Shores Family Dentistry, we totally get it. Very few people are totally excited about flossing, but the truth is that it can do wonders for your gums. Having inflamed gums that bleed is more common than you might think. As a matter of fact, according to a recent statistic, more than half of all American adults have gum disease. That’s a pretty high number, but the great news is that for many people, it’s treatable by simply changing up their oral health routines.

And speaking of great news, in today’s post, we’ll be sharing three easy dentist-approved tips for improving the health of your gums. We should mention, of course, that if you’re dealing with bleeding gums, it’s best to schedule an appointment with us as soon as possible to get you squared away. But what can you do in the meantime? Check out our tips below to find out.

How to Work Towards Healthier Gums

Get an Electric Toothbrush

Does an electric toothbrush really make that big of a difference? Believe it or not, it absolutely does! When you use a regular toothbrush, you’re responsible for making several tiny circular brushing motions on the front and back of each tooth. It’s not necessarily a hard thing to do, but it definitely can be quite tedious.

Luckily, electric toothbrushes do all of the heavy lifting for you, so to speak.

In other words, the electric toothbrush is responsible for making the small movements, and all you need to do is guide it over your teeth and gums. Many electric toothbrushes even come with built in timers, several of which alert you at 30 second increments and automatically turn off after two minutes. That makes it incredibly easy to brush for the recommended amount of time rather than guessing how long it’s been or setting a timer on your phone while you’re  brushing.

It’s also easy to simply swap out the brush heads when they need replaced. We recommend doing this every three months or so. For maximum success, use only soft-bristle brush heads and be sure to brush your gums as well as your teeth.

Floss Every Day

This is the bit of advice you probably already know about all too well, but it bears repeating — one of the best things you can do for your gums is to floss every day. The plaque that builds up on your teeth over the course of an average day starts to generate acid, and as you’re probably aware, acid causes cavities and starts to break down the enamel on your teeth. It can also lead to gum issues.

Here’s the good news: if your gums are bleeding regularly and you’re not yet flossing, it’s the best place to start. If your gums start to bleed when you floss, this is also really common. Keep it up, and before you know it, you’ll have happy, healthy gums again!

When you brush, you’re only fighting half of the battle for good dental hygiene. Even the best brushing techniques can’t allow you to get into the spaces between your teeth, and this leaves you with a problem. Flossing lets you get the other two sides of your teeth, ensuring that you’re fully protected. It also means that you get to stimulate your gums, allowing them the air they need to stay healthy.

Use an Antiseptic Mouthwash

Last, but not least, we highly recommend picking up an antiseptic mouthwash. There are plenty of different options on the market, so choose a flavor that sounds good to you and go for it!

In the past, mouthwash was seen mostly as a way to clean your tongue, leaving you with fresh breath. That’s a big benefit of using mouthwash, of course, but it also helps to loosen anything that is still stuck between your teeth and fight against bacteria. In other words, it’s the perfect way to wrap up your dental health routine.

Simply add a mouthful, and then swish it around back and forth, up and down, in and out. Whatever you can do to get it between your teeth will make a big difference. Focus on getting every area of your mouth and you’ll be all set.

Keep It Up and Enjoy Healthier Gums

For many, seeing the dentist is a twice a year thing. The truth is that some people will need to come in more often. If you’re having periodontal issues, we might need to see you three or four times each year. Although this can feel excessive, the truth is that you only get one mouth, and the better we’re able to stay on top of giving it the care it needs, the better off you’ll be.

The brand of electric toothbrush, floss (traditional or floss picks are fine), and mouthwash don’t matter. What does matter is that you find your routine and stick to it. Make it a point each day to set aside some time for oral hygiene. We know that it can be very easy to want to simply collapse into bed at the end of a long and stressful day at work, but taking five minutes to care for your teeth and gums is one of the best things you can do.

Schedule an Appointment With Us Today

At Shores Family Dentistry, we know that going to see the dentist isn’t at the top of the list of things people necessarily want to do. The good news is that our goal is to put you at ease at your appointment. Whether you have a fear of the dentist or it’s just been awhile since your last visit, you can count on us to provide you with exceptional dental care at every step of the way.

During your visit, we’ll take a look at everything and offer tips about what you can do to improve your daily routine. At the end of the day, if you need to see a dentist in Fort Collins, our goal is to provide you with the tools you need to enjoy a happy, healthy smile. Schedule an appointment today. We look forward to seeing you!