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How to Take Care of Your Gums and Prevent Gingivitis

Updated on April 23, 2011
Brushing your teeth, flossing, using mouthwash, and visiting the dentist regularly can make all the difference in preventing gingivitis.
Brushing your teeth, flossing, using mouthwash, and visiting the dentist regularly can make all the difference in preventing gingivitis. | Source

Gingivitis is increasingly being linked to such alarming health conditions as heart disease and Alzheimer’s. Yet gum disease is almost entirely preventable with an aggressive oral cleaning routine. If your gums are still healthy or if your gingivitis is in its early stages, you should be able to maintain or return to possessing a healthy mouth by simply following these suggestions.

Make a commitment to yourself to step up your teeth cleaning habits and invest just a few more minutes on your mouth every day. Besides the fact that proper oral hygiene will make you much more attractive and pleasant to be around, this daily ten-minute investment in your health might just add years to your life.

Brush Properly and Regularly

Most likely, you’ve heard how to brush your teeth hundreds of times before, and you brush your teeth once or twice a day. But how often do you really think about what you’re doing when you’re brushing? Do you concentrate on cleaning the gum above each individual tooth, pressing firmly, tilting your brush slightly upward toward the gum line? Or do you zone out, use the time to think about why your wife was so touchy today, or how to get out of going to that office meeting tomorrow? Brushing your teeth becomes so routine that we tend to not think about it, and our teeth and gums suffer.

Purchasing an electric toothbrush can make a huge difference in the health of your gums. While it is still a good idea to really pay attention to cleaning your teeth, an electric toothbrush with a rotating brush head can pick up some of the slack for you in giving your teeth a quality cleaning.

If you choose a regular toothbrush, make sure that it has soft bristles and that you replace it every three or four months.

Floss Every Day

This is the part that most people most like to skip. Brushing my teeth should be enough, right? WRONG. A disturbing amount of plaque escapes the reaches of your toothbrush and builds up between your teeth, which leads to tartar, which inflames your gums. Flossing your teeth is the single best way to prevent gingivitis and to treat it in its early stages. If you aren’t already flossing your teeth, I encourage you to make a commitment to try it. Using Oral B Glide dental floss will improve your experience significantly because it moves between your teeth much more easily than other brands of dental floss and captures a lot more plaque in addition. Flossing may be painful and you may even see blood if it has been awhile, but this isn’t cause for concern. Keep flossing every day and you will see improvement in as little as two weeks.

Use Mouthwash

Rinsing your mouth with mouthwash is a great way to get rid of any lingering food particles, disinfect your mouth, and freshen up your breath. If you don’t like the burn of Listerine, try diluting it with half water, or just look for a brand of mouthwash you do like.

Go to the Dentist

No matter how well you brush, floss, and rinse your teeth, you will still need to go to the dentist every six months. There will always be some degree of tartar build-up on your teeth, and only a dental professional can remove it. The more you invest in cleaning your teeth at home, though, the less painful your visit will be. Even so, some dentists and dental hygienists are more gentle than others, so keep trying new ones until you find one that doesn’t cause you to dread showing up for that appointment.

That’s about all there is to it. Some people may have to work a little harder than others when it comes to maintaining healthy gums, but the effort is well worth it.

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