We get asked a lot of questions about problems with teeth and gums, however, it’s also good to understand some of the signs when it comes to healthy teeth and gums. Preventing issues before they develop is the best way to take care of your teeth and gums, so understanding what they should look like is the first step towards healthier teeth and gums.
As part of your daily dental hygiene routine, make sure you pay close attention in the mirror and look out for some of the signs below which will tell you how healthy your teeth and gums are.
The common symptoms of dental issues are typically easy to spot – pain, swollen gums, and sensitivity. Regular brushing and flossing, however, can help to prevent these symptoms from developing, helping to keep your teeth and gums healthy.
7 signs of healthy teeth and gums
A good dental hygiene routine is the key to healthy teeth and gums, and as well as practising good dental hygiene, it’s important to monitor your teeth and gums in addition to regular trips to the dentist and hygienist.
As part of your daily dental hygiene routine, here are seven signs you should check for that will signal that your teeth and gums are healthy.
1. Pink and firm gums
When we think about dental issues, we often think about our teeth, however, our gums are also an integral and important part of our overall dental hygiene.
Your gums are crucial for keeping your teeth healthy and there are some very clear signs to signal that they are healthy. When you check in the mirror, your gums should be pink. Red or white gums can be a sign that you have some underlying issues with your gums that could also impact your teeth.
A good test is to wash your hands and then run your finger across your gums. Your gums should feel firm to the touch and there should be no pain or sensitivity. Firm, pink gums are a great sign that they are healthy and any changes should be closely monitored.
2. A healthy tongue
As well as monitoring the health of your gums, your tongue is also an important and integral part of your overall oral hygiene.
Similar to your gums, your tongue should be a nice pink colour and should also be moist. A quick check in the mirror each day should show you any potential issues which might include discolouration (usually a white tongue), a build-up of plaque (a white film on your tongue) or an unpleasant smell/taste on your tongue.
If you detect any of these signs, it might be time to get to your dentist.
As part of your overall oral hygiene routine, you should regularly brush or scrape your tongue to remove any build-up of plaque and make sure you stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day.
3. Strong teeth
By the time you reach adulthood, your teeth should be fully developed in your mouth. Whilst you might have some issues with wisdom teeth in later life, most people should have firm, strong teeth as they grow older.
Any signs of loose teeth could be a signal of underlying issues. Your teeth should not wobble in your mouth. If they do, this could well be a sign of gum disease and should be addressed by your dentist sooner rather than later.
If you have had any dental restoration work carried out such as crowns or fillings, these should also be strong so be on the lookout for anything that feels loose. Whilst your dentist will monitor any restoration work at your regular checkups, if you spot something between visits, it is always best to get them checked out as it could be a sign of other issues in your mouth.
4. Neutral-smelling breath
Whilst there are occasions where we all experience bad breath, especially in the mornings, neutral-smelling breath is typically a good sign that you have good oral health.
Coffee, garlicky food and even dehydration can all cause temporary bad breath – this is ok and can be easily remedied by rinsing with mouthwash, chewing some gum, or cleaning your teeth. If you find that you still have bad-smelling breath after carrying out your daily dental hygiene routine, this could be a sign of underlying issues with your oral health.
A healthy mouth doesn’t smell and a good way to check your own breath is to wash your hands and gently scratch your tongue with your fingernail during the day. If the smell is neutral, this is a good sign that you have healthy teeth and gums.
Bad breath can be caused by a number of factors including decaying food particles stuck in your teeth and gums which can lead to other issues if not addressed. Neutral-smelling breath is a great indicator of a healthy mouth so make sure you check yours on a regular basis.
5. Teeth are not sensitive to temperature
Whilst sensitive teeth are not always a sign of underlying issues with your teeth or gums, they can certainly be an indicator, especially if there is a sudden change.
Teeth sensitivity can be extremely uncomfortable, especially when it comes to hot and cold food and drink. This can cause you discomfort in your everyday life, and you might need to consider the impact of everything you eat and drink.
There are a number of causes of sensitive teeth and for some people, it is something they have to live with. One of the most common causes of sensitive teeth is the stripping away of enamel on your teeth. This can lead to sensitivity and discomfort.
If your teeth are not sensitive to hot and cold food and drink, then this is another positive indicator of the overall health of your teeth and gums.
6. Your gums don’t bleed when you floss
Flossing is an essential part of your daily oral hygiene routine. Healthy teeth and gums shouldn’t bleed when you floss (or brush your teeth). If they do, don’t ignore it.
Occasionally, over-enthusiastic flossing can lead to bleeding gums and if this is a one-off situation, that is usually fine. However, if your start to see blood on a regular basis when you floss or brush, this is usually a sign of an underlying issue. The main cause of bleeding gums is a build-up of plaque along your gumline which causes your gums to swell, making them more sensitive.
When your gums become swollen due to the build-up of plaque, this can also make flossing more difficult so it is important to floss daily to prevent this build-up in the first place.
Brushing too hard can also cause your gums to bleed so make sure you brush gently in circular motions and choose a brush hardness that is appropriate for your teeth.
7. White teeth
Over time, teeth can become discoloured. The food we eat and the drinks we consume can all contribute to the “staining” of teeth over time, even if you brush and floss daily.
Whilst some discolouration can be caused naturally by the food and drinks we consume, there are some things to look out for that may be a sign of underlying issues. If you have one specific tooth that is darker than your other teeth, this could be a sign that the tooth, root or surrounding gum has an issue.
One of the most common causes of a discoloured tooth is damage to the nerve or a possible infection. If you do spot a tooth that looks discoloured compared to the rest of your teeth, it is best to get this looked at immediately as the earlier any issue can be dealt with, the easier it will be to remedy.
Book an appointment today
Hopefully, this checklist helps you to keep an eye on the health of your teeth and gums and provides you with some guidance in terms of the way your teeth, gums, and tongue should look.
If you do spot any changes to any of the above, then you should look to book an appointment with your dentist right away. Prevention is the best way to keep your mouth, teeth and gums healthy and our team will provide you with advice and guidance when it comes to your oral hygiene.
Talk to the team at Hamilton Dental today and take the next steps towards a healthier mouth.