Good oral hygiene is more than just brushing and flossing your teeth. Your gums too, play an important role in keeping tooth decay at bay. As well as helping to hold teeth in place, gum tissue covers the roots of teeth. The root of a tooth is more vulnerable to tooth decay because it is covered with cementum, a thin but hard layer that is nonetheless weaker than enamel

Although a US study involving 10,000 people found that gum recession worsens with age, you can slow, and perhaps even halt, its progression. If you are concerned about the effect that gum recession might have on the future of your oral health, include the following practices in your daily oral hygiene routine from now on.

Massage Gum Tissue to Increase Blood Flow

As well as brushing and flossing your teeth, you should also massage your gums. Massaging any part of your body helps to increase blood circulation to that area. Improved circulation brings more oxygen and nutrients, and it speeds up the healing process. Using a clean forefinger, gently massage your gums in a slow and circular motion.

You can even apply some peppermint or eucalyptus oil to your finger for their cooling and energy-reviving effects. If you would rather not use your finger, you can also purchase gum brushes from a pharmacy or online store.

Monitor the Position of Your Teeth

Over time, teeth tend to move toward the front of the mouth. Certain habits, such as biting nails and leaning on hands can also force teeth to move. If a tooth moves into an awkward position, becoming crooked, the gum tissue that surrounds it may suffer. This will cause the gum tissue around the affected tooth to recede, exposing the vulnerable root surface.

Refrain from habits that will move your teeth, and monitor the position of your teeth. If a tooth, or several teeth, appears to be moving into an unfavourable position, you could move them back with braces or Invisalign.

Keep Your Gum Line Free of Calculus

When plaque hardens, it becomes tartar or calculus, a chalky layer of minerals, dead bacteria and food debris. If tartar builds up along the gum line, it can irritate the gum tissue, causing it to recede. Be sure to brush your teeth at a forty-five degree angle to prevent tartar from forming along the gum line.

If you spot a buildup of tartar, book an appointment with a dentist as soon as possible. Once an area is coated with tartar, it becomes easier for more tartar to form in that area, thus increasing the chances of gum recession.

Age doesn't have to mean gum recession. If you take care of your gums, they will continue to protect your teeth, no matter how old you are.