A healthy mouth is the gateway to a healthy body. You hear that over, and over, and over. But what does it mean? What is a healthy mouth, how do you get one, and how do you keep it that way?
4 Signs of a Healthy Mouth
If you would like to know if you have a healthy mouth, the next time you brush your teeth, take a quick peek in the mirror. You know you’re in good oral health when you can say these four things are in great shape.
When you look at your gums, you should be seeing tissue with a pleasant pink color. The tissue should be firm to the touch, hug the teeth, and not exhibit any pockets or bulges. Your teeth should hold firm inside your gums, and they shouldn’t feel loose. If your gums look red and irritated, there could be a couple of different reasons. Brushing too hard, flossing improperly, or using a toothbrush that is too stiff can definitely cause irritation. Gums that are inflamed are also the first sign of a condition called gingivitis, the precursor to periodontal disease. Plaque forms on the teeth quickly and eats away at the gums, causing them to break down and recede. Your goal should be to have nice, pink healthy gums.
Have you ever cupped your hand over your mouth to see if you needed a breath mint? The best way to test your breath is to scrape your fingernail across your tongue and take a whiff. It gives you a much better measure of how your breath really smells. Bad breath often indicates the presence of bacteria and food particles that get stuck in the crevices of our teeth. On occasion, it can also be a side effect of sinus trouble or other health problems, such as diabetes. You can be sure that if your breath smells clean and fresh, your oral health is on the right track.
There’s no way around it, if you are over the age of 13, your teeth should never feel loose. Your teeth should fit nice and tight inside your gum tissue. If you find you have a loose tooth, you need to see your dentist immediately or risk losing it. On that note, if you have any fillings, crowns, or other dental work, those should also fit nice and tight. Your dentist should check their patients’ dental work during your annual oral exam, but it can’t hurt to check it out in the meantime.
Healthy Oral Tissue
When talking about dental health, it’s not just your teeth and gums you need to be taking care of. Make sure to look at your tongue and cheeks as well. Just like your gums, those should be firm, pink, and moist. Keep a lookout for any abnormal lumps, sores, or bleeding. If your cheeks exhibit any red or gray patches, that is an indication of irritation. You may even be chewing on the insides of your cheek without realizing it – it’s a common problem, similar to grinding or clenching your teeth. White patches on your tongue could point to a fungal infection called thrush and would need medication. Canker sores are caused by a viral infection and can become quite painful. Rinsing your mouth with warm salt water or baking soda can help reduce the flare-up.
How To Keep Your Mouth Naturally Healthy
Cleaning the bacteria out of your mouth on a regular basis goes a long way to keep your teeth, gums, and other tissues healthy. There are a wide variety of dental health products available on the market today that, if used on a daily basis, yields fantastic results. Brushing twice a day (you can use either a manual or electric toothbrush) with fluoride toothpaste is the first step to good dental hygiene. You want a soft brush, and be sure to reach those molars all the way in the back. Don’t forget that brushing your tongue is just as important! Next, use a good flossing product every day. It can be a water flosser, a floss pick, or just regular string floss. If you aren’t sure how to floss properly, ask at your next dentist appointment and we can show you how.
Take care of what you choose to eat as well. Limit sugary treats and eat lots of fruits and vegetables. The best thing about crunchy veggies is that they can almost act like a brush and help remove plaque that builds up during the day. And last but not least, be sure to make your regular clinical appointment at your favorite dental practice. If you live in greater Minnesota and around the Twin Cities, make sure to give one of our locations a call. They include Gentle Dentistry Minneapolis and Gentle Dentistry Coon Rapids, just to name a few.
Visiting your dentist every six months is the ideal dental schedule according to the American Dental Association. Take good care of your dental hygiene at home and you’ll be on your way to enjoying perfect teeth in no time!