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When most people think about maintaining oral health, they think about keeping their teeth healthy. However, it is just as important for people to maintain healthy gums and oral tissues—these foundational parts of your mouth are vital for supporting the other parts of your smile.

Our Saint Louis dentists are here to answer your questions about gum health—so keep reading to get more information!

Q: How can I tell if my gums are unhealthy?

A: Unfortunately, gum disease often progresses asymptomatically in its earliest stages—this can make it tough for patients to spot oral infections on their own. This is why it is so important that you keep up with your schedule of semi-annual professional cleanings so that our team can assess your smile. If you do experience symptoms of gum disease you may find that your gum tissue bleeds, swells, and feels tender. Additionally, you may suffer from chronic, hard-to-treat bad breath due to the ongoing infection.

Q: How do I prevent gum disease?

A: The key to minimizing your risk of developing gum disease is to keep your smile as free from bacteria as possible. The bacteria that lead to dental cavities can also infect your oral tissues and cause gum disease. Brush your teeth as recommended, floss once a day, and use any mouth rinses that your dentist may suggest. Also, keep up with your schedule of semi-annual professional cleanings for more thorough cleanings.

You can also adopt habits that will generally help to keep your oral bacteria levels to a minimum. Rinse your mouth water after eating or drinking something other than water. Limit the amount of sugary substances that you consume, as oral bacteria feed on sugars. Snack on crunchy and water-rich veggies like carrots and celery to refresh your smile throughout the day. Generally healthy oral hygiene practices will benefit your gum tissues.

Whether you think that you’re dealing with gum disease currently, or you’re interested in doing everything that you can to avoid developing gum tissue problems, our Saint Louis dentists are here to help. Give us a call to schedule your consultation today!

Flossing is a very important part of any strong oral health routine. Unfortunately, many dental patients fail to take flossing as seriously as they take daily brushing. Our Saint Louis dentists are here to help you jump-start your flossing routine, and reap the benefits of this simple but effective oral hygiene step. Keep reading to learn more about how you can floss for maximum effectiveness.

Let’s start by talking about choosing a floss. When you check out your options, you’ll notice that there are many different types of floss available on the market today. When making your decision, simply make sure to choose a type of floss that fits comfortably between your teeth, and that has a flavor that is appealing to you.

Now we’ll take a second to speak about flossing technique. The first thing to do is to tear off a large strip of floss, which you will use for this flossing session only. Wrap the floss around your fingers so that a small portion of it is taut. Move the floss from tooth to tooth, unwinding and winding the floss as you go, so you are using a new portion of the long piece.

As you floss between your teeth, move the floss all the way up and down the length of the tooth—making sure to direct the floss gently into the gum tissue. As you clean between your teeth, also move the floss gently back and forth to disturb as much plaque as possible.

It is very common for people to notice that their gum tissues bleed a little after they start flossing again—this is normal. This should subside over time, as you keep up with your flossing, but let your dentist know if your gum tissue is still bleeding after a long period of time.

Feel free to call our Saint Louis dentists if you need more tips on flossing, or if it’s time to come in for a consultation or cleaning!

The dental products that you use every day—toothpaste, mouthwash, floss—are loaded with ingredients that can help your smile stay healthy and strong. Today our Saint Louis dentists are giving you some more information about some of these commonly utilized ingredients. We hope that this information helps you better understand how oral hygiene products work!

One of the key ingredients in many oral hygiene products is fluoride. Fluoride is a natural mineral, that has been shown to support oral health. Fluoride helps your dental enamel to remineralize. Additionally, because fluoride strengthens your teeth, it can help to prevent cavities and dental damage.

When you brush your teeth with toothpaste, you’ll notice that the paste foams up and produces cleaning suds. This happens due to detergents! Detergents in toothpaste help you to clear away as much plaque and bacteria as possible. One common detergent is sodium lauryl sulfate.

Calcium carbonate/hydrated aluminum oxides/silica gels are also included in toothpastes in order to ramp up the paste’s cleaning power. These substances are abrasive (in a good way!) so they provide physical cleaning power; as you buff them over your teeth you dislodge and disrupt dental debris and plaque. When included in toothpastes, these substances are specially formulated to be abrasive without being destructive to your enamel.

There are also a number of flavoring ingredients that are used in oral hygiene products. Saccharin and sorbitol, for example, make oral hygiene products taste more palatable. When it comes to choosing a flavor of oral hygiene product, you really just want to make sure that you pick something that works for you—so that you’ll be likely to use it!

If you have additional questions about choosing oral hygiene products, our Saint Louis dentists are happy to help you make a great decision. Give us a call to speak to our team and schedule a consultation!

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