How to Treat Gingivitis


Even though gum disease is uncommon in people younger than 30, it affects about 90 percent of Americans over age 65. Gingivitis stems from poor oral hygiene and is preventable. You simply need to take good care of your teeth and gums.

  • Brush. Twice a day is standard fare for most peo­ple, but adding a toothbrush session after any sweet or sticky snack makes good dental sense. Use a soft toothbrush and small circles, paying particular attention to the gum line, where most plaque grows. Hold the bristles at a 45-degree angle to your teeth. Choose a fluoride toothpaste, but pass on the baking soda. Many experts say baking soda is too abrasive and can scour the protective enamel right off the tooth surface. You should spend at least two minutes brushing to really clean your teeth — a small investment in a healthy smile.

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  • Floss. Use waxed or unwaxed dental floss at least once a day to clean between your teeth. Gently scrub the floss up and down around each tooth.
  • Swish. Read mouthwash labels and choose one that fights plaque. Prescription mouthwashes con­taining chlorhexidine seem to be effective in pre­venting gingivitis. In studies, this germ-killing mouth rinse reduced some bacteria by 50 percent. Ask your dentist if you should use this product.
  • Chew. Saliva is your mouth’s first method of plaque assault, since it rinses food particles from your teeth. So unwrap that stick of sugarless gum and chew, chew, chew. You’ll increase your saliva as you do.

The long-range plan for gingivitis

In most cases, gingivitis is reversible. A good program of regular dental care is all it takes to get your teeth and gums in tip-top shape. Once you achieve a healthy mouth, concentrate on keeping it that way.

Make a date with your dentist. Some people get yearly checkups, but having a professional clean­ing every six months is even better. See your doc­tor more often if you suffer from any type of gum disease.

Eat well. A varied diet of nutritious foods will pre­vent vitamin deficiencies and improve your health all around. Avoid sticky, sugary foods since these coat your teeth and promote decay.

Kick the habit. If you smoke, you are five times more likely to develop gum disease than if you don’t.

Expose the plaque. You can buy “disclosing tablets” at your grocery or drug store. Chewing one will stain any plaque on your teeth red. This shows how well you’ve brushed.

Filed Under: Health & Personal Care

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About the Author: Andrew Reinert is a health care professional who loves to share different tips on health and personal care. He is a regular contributor to MegaHowTo and lives in Canada.

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