You may be under the impression that oral health is all about those pearly whites, and it isn’t hard to understand why. While you may only think about your teeth when you schedule your next dental appointment, when you do make it into our dentist’s office on Long Beach Island, you will most certainly be talking about your gums as well. Your teeth are only half the story when it comes to your oral health, so it is important to prioritize the wellbeing of your gums as well. In this blog, we will go over why you should care about your gum health, as well as ways you can keep your gums healthy for life.

You Need Your Gums to Keep Your Teeth in Place

It doesn’t matter if your teeth are in perfect condition; if they don’t have strong gums to support them, your oral health is in jeopardy. Your gums serve to seal your teeth into your mouth and protect the sensitive tissues beneath them. When bacteria sits on your teeth and gums, plaque builds up, and small pockets are made that enable the plaque to hide. The buildup of plaque continually erodes your gums, exposing them and increasing your likelihood of loose teeth as well as cavities. You simply can’t have healthy teeth without healthy gums, too!

Gum and Heart Disease are Linked

When you don’t care for your gums, you can develop gum disease. Gum disease is a problem in its own right, but it has also been linked to heart disease, making it especially important to pay attention to your gum health. While the exact correlation is not yet understood, when someone has a heart attack, they also tend to have gum disease. Therefore, it is wise to care for your gums in order to also care for your heart.

Healthy Gums = Better Overall Health

When you have gum disease, your gums become inflamed, which makes it easier for bacteria to travel from your mouth into your bloodstream. This makes you more susceptible to developing infections. There has even been a link established between gum disease and rheumatoid arthritis. Keeping your gums healthy is advantageous to your overall health.

Tips for Healthy Gums

Now that you understand the importance of healthy gums, here are some tips for maintaining your gum health.

Brush Correctly

It’s important to brush your teeth twice daily not only for the sake of your teeth, but for the sake of your gums. However, if you brush too vigorously or you use a horizontal angle, you could be damaging your gums. Also, choose a toothbrush with soft bristles as to avoid pain or bleeding from your gums.


Flossing can feel like a chore, but it is an important part of your gum health. Flossing prevents tartar build up, saving your gums from eroding. Therefore, floss once a day for the health of your gums.

Massage Your Gums

Everyone loves a good massage, including your gums! You can relieve any gum pain and maintain gum health by dipping your finger into a eucalyptus or peppermint tonic, then gently massaging your gums in a circular motion. Make sure you get the inside, outside, upper, and lower gums.

Do Mouth Exercises

When you do mouth exercises, you stimulate blood flow, which helps your gum health. After your gum massage, gently bite down so your teeth click together. Do this 30 to 40 times a day to stimulate blood flow to your gums.

At Smiles by Dr. Santos, we care about your gum health and want to help you do everything you can to maintain it. Looking for a dentist on Long Beach Island who can provide dental anesthesia? We can help! Contact us today to learn more.