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Toothache and Gum Problems (cont.)


Keeping your teeth and gums healthy requires good nutrition and regular brushing and flossing. To avoid a tooth or gum problem:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day, in the morning and before bedtime. Floss once a day.
    Click here to view an Actionset.Dental Care: Brushing and Flossing Your Teeth.
  • 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 doctor if you are on a blood-thinning medicine or you have a bleeding disorder.
  • 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 Quitting Smoking.
  • Do not use illegal drugs, such as methamphetamines, which cause tooth and gum problems.

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