Gum disease begins when plaque builds up along and under the gum line. This plaque causes infections that hurt the gum and bone that hold teeth in place. Sometimes gum disease makes your gums tender and more likely to bleed. This problem, called gingivitis, can often be fixed by daily brushing and flossing. A more severe form of gum disease, called periodontitis, needs to be treated by a dentist. If not treated, this infection can ruin the bones, gums, and other tissues that support your teeth. Over time, your teeth may have to be removed.
Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
Floss once a day.
Visit your dentist regularly for a checkup and cleaning.
Eat a well-balanced diet.
Quit smoking. Smoking increases your risk for gum disease.
Cleaning your teeth and gums.
It's important to clean around your teeth with dental floss every day. Careful flossing will take off plaque and leftover food that a toothbrush can’t reach. Be sure to rinse after you floss. If you have trouble flossing, a floss holder may help. Ask your dentist to show you the right way to floss.
Gently brush your teeth on all sides with a soft-bristle brush and fluoride toothpaste. Use small circular motions and short back-and-forth strokes. Take the time to brush carefully and gently along the gum line. Lightly brush your tongue to help keep your mouth clean. People with arthritis or other conditions that limit hand motion may find it hard to hold and use a toothbrush. Some helpful ideas are:
Use an electric or battery-operated toothbrush.
Slide a bicycle grip or foam tube over the handle of the toothbrush.
Buy a toothbrush with a larger handle.
Attach the toothbrush handle to your hand with a wide elastic band.
See your dentist if brushing or flossing causes your gums to bleed or hurts your mouth.
Brush your teeth twice a day, in the morning and before bedtime, with fluoride toothpaste. Make sure to brush all sides of your teeth, as well as, your tongue.
Floss or use another between-the-tooth cleaner daily to remove plaque and bits of food from areas your toothbrush can't reach.
Eat a balanced diet for good general health and limit sugary snacks. Avoid tobacco, smokers are more likely to develop periodontal disease & tooth loss.
Visit your dentist regularly. Professional cleanings are the only way to remove tartar, which traps bacteria along the gum line.