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.
- 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.