Keeping your teeth and gums healthy requires good nutrition and regular
brushing and flossing. To avoid a tooth or gum problem:
- Brush your teeth after meals and between-meal snacks. Floss at least once a
- Use a toothpaste that contains fluoride.
- Avoid foods that contain a lot of sugar. Sugar helps plaque grow.
- Ask your dentist or dental hygienist about tongue cleaning. You can use a
tongue cleaner or a soft-bristled toothbrush, stroking in a front-to-back
direction. Tongue cleaning is particularly important for people who smoke or
whose tongues are coated or deeply grooved.
- Ask your dentist or hygienist whether he or she recommends using a mouthwash
that contains fluoride and ingredients to reduce plaque.
- Schedule regular trips to the dentist. Most dentists recommend exams and
cleaning 2 times a year. Some experts believe those who are at low risk for
dental problems need only a yearly exam.
- Get regular checkups or recommended blood tests ordered by your health
professional if you are on a blood-thinning medication or you have a bleeding
- Do not smoke or use other tobacco products because it decreases your ability
to fight gum infection and delays healing. For more information, see the topic
- Do not use illegal drugs, such as methamphetamines, which cause tooth and