It is very common to think that we should not touch our gums when cleaning our mouth. But we definitely and imperatively have to touch our gums in our daily routine.
Sometimes we think that our gums are sensitive or we can cause recession (exposure of the roots of our teeth) if we brush around the gums.
Our gums will not bleed if they are healthy, and to keep them healthy we need to remove the bacterias that are hidden in the tiny space between the gum and the teeth which is called gingival sulcus.
If we avoid touching the gums or miss any area while brushing and flossing, the bacterias will start accumulating in these areas, our body will develop a defence (inflammation) towards them, and that is the reason our gums bleed, not because we are hurting it.
Recession of our gums has multiple causes and the traumatic brush is just one component of it. Furthermore, if we use soft or medium brushes and not put excessive force while brushing, there is no harm to the gingival tissue.
Try and check the results for yourself.
The reason we clean our teeth is not to remove food!
Bacterias are the villains. They are the target!
If we can remove bacterias from the surfaces of our teeth, we will not allow them to get organised enough to cause problems to our teeth.
Of course it is important to clean the food, but this is secondary. Food becomes relevant just because it is food for the bacterias as well. More food stuck, more bacterias growing and “eating” as well.
But the bacterias will survive even if we don’t eat anything. So, again, we need to clean all surfaces of our teeth even if we just drink water for the whole day.
It might be perfectly fine if we do not go to the dentist regularly. Although we need to have perfectly clear how oral diseases work and how we can keep free of them.
The dentist should have the role of a guide rather than a “fixer”. If we have all understood and explained, we should be able to be totally free from diseases like dental decay and gum disease.
The sooner we are explained how to prevent and not have disease at all, higher are the chances that we spend our whole life with our teeth and gums healthy and intact.
We are not destined to have “bad teeth”. In fact we can stop having bad teeth at any time in life. And it is in our hands, not in the dentist’s.
Information is the key point!
We all have very good teeth. Despite sometimes the facts leading us to conclude the opposite.
Dental decay and disease on the gums are totally preventable (apart from a minority of specific cases) and are considered behavioural diseases.
It means that we develop cavities and bleeding gums mainly because we misunderstand or were not informed about the roots of the problem.
Cleaning our mouth means clean “bacterias”. It sounds obvious, and we all might think we do it correctly. But, has your dentist or hygienist showed how and where to brush and floss properly? Had them demonstrated it with a brush in your own mouth? If not, ask them. It is important!
Generally, we concentrate in the chewing surface and the outside areas of our teeth and neglect the internal areas (close to the tongue in the lower and to the palate in the upper). Most important of all, the brush will never be able to remove bacterias between our teeth.
Keep in mind, “bacterias”.
Most of us find flossing very demanding and dull. Some even hate flossing as it can be difficult to reach the back teeth, can have bleeding and discomfort or we can even think it is pointless.
Mouthwash marketing strategies claiming to kill bacterias can contribute to perpetuate certain misunderstandings about cleaning our mouth. This can lead us to conclude that if there is no food stuck between my teeth or if I rinse my mouth with one of them, I need no floss. That is very wrong and dangerous.
The surfaces of our teeth which are facing another tooth (interdentally) are large and hidden. The brush will never touch this area to remove the bacterias and the mouthwash will not kill the bacterias from these surfaces. We need to touch them within 24 hours to avoid the organisation of bacterial plaque and subsequent gum disease.
Compared to all demands of healthy lifestyle, flossing is not a big deal. The lack of habit is the main problem.
If you have difficulties holding the floss, try to use mounted flosses or interdental brushes.
Please keep in mind that flossing is easy to do and easy not do do, its your choice!
London dentist registered in the UK since 2008. His mission is to improve patient health & appearance, self-confidence and overall quality of life.