Should I Brush My Gums as Well as My Teeth?
As long as you brush and floss your teeth twice a day, and keep foods high in sugar to a minimum, you are doing a pretty good job of caring for your teeth. However, when it comes to your gums, you may often hear all kinds of weird and wonderful recommendations. First of all, the only person that you should trust in terms of what works and what doesn't, is your dentist.
Your gums are sensitive and they also help to hold your teeth in place. Therefore, the last thing you should do is to brush them in the same manner that you brush your teeth. Yes, your gums do need to be clean and healthy but you need to ensure that you don't overdo it.
Bacteria Accumulates Under the Gums
The reason oral hygiene is so important is that a dirty mouth is a haven for tooth decay-causing bacteria. They build up on your teeth in a bio-film and are also present in the gum pockets, those areas of gum around the roots of your teeth. A healthy gum pocket should be around 3 mm deep, but pockets deeper than that may be home to bacteria and will contribute to gum disease.
It is important that you also brush these pockets when you brush your teeth. This will stop bacteria from accumulating there and forming calculus or tartar. However, you should use a soft bristled brush angled at 45 degrees so that bristles can sweep into the gum pockets without irritating the gums. Brush too hard and you may cause your gums to recede.
Brushing Your Gums Increases Blood Flow
Waste can, and does, build up on the gum tissue, so this should be removed with a soft-bristled brush. Never brush gums aggressively. Always brush gently and with the toothbrush bristles at a 45 degree angle toward the tooth surface. This will remove waste material and food debris from the gums and increase the blood flow to the gingival tissues.
You can also use your fingers after you've washed your hands to massage your gums each morning and night. By increasing the blood flow to your gums you increase the flow of nutrients and oxygen, thus promoting healing and vitality in the area and reducing the chances if gum disease.
As long as you are gentle and you understand why you are brushing your gums, i.e. to increase blood flow and remove bacteria from the pockets, you can brush your gums. Schedule a dental check up to ask the dentist more questions about how to keep your gums healthy.