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Preventing Gingivitis: What You Can Do at Home

Gingivitis is a gum disease that is relatively common: more than 75 percent of adults experience gingivitis or a related gum disease at some point in their lives. While some factors can increase your risk of getting gingivitis, such as smoking or chewing tobacco, forgoing dental cleanings and even genetics, you can largely keep gum disease at bay by taking care of your teeth and gums at home.

Here are some easy tips for keeping your gums in great health. You will also learn signs of gingivitis so you can discuss any gum or dental problems with your dentist before they become issues that need extensive treatment.

Floss the Right Way

It takes more than simply running a line of floss between your teeth back and forth to keep your gums and teeth healthy, you need to floss the right way. Flossing requires gently maneuvering the string just under your gum line where your teeth are rooted and working debris outward. Because gum disease often begins with plaque building up on the gum line, proper flossing is a great preventative measure to take.

If you don't know how to floss, ask your dental hygienist to show you the best way to do so at your next dental cleaning. They will be happy to share detailed oral care tips with you to keep your gums and teeth as healthy as possible.

Use the Right Toothbrush

If you use a standard toothbrush, use a medium-bristle brush to gently remove plaque and bacteria from your teeth without damaging your tooth enamel. It's best to brush in a circular motion (not side-to-side) on both the front and back of your teeth to fully clean them.

Many dentists recommend an electric toothbrush for its ability to rapidly cleanse the teeth without causing damage to sensitive gums and soft enamel. Talk to your dentist about your brushing habits and switch to an electric toothbrush for a more thorough clean. Make sure to brush at least twice a day or after meals.

Signs of Gingivitis

If you already have gingivitis, you may not know it. Signs of gingivitis or other types of gum disease include:
  • Foul breath
  • Bleeding gums
  • Dark red, black or purple gums
  • Painful gums when brushing
Your dentist can identify gum issues before you can, so make sure to see them twice a year for cleanings and checkups so they can inspect your gums for any signs of illness. Failure to see the dentist can result in worsening gum conditions such as receding gums or periodontal disease, which is advanced gum disease that requires extensive cleaning and care to treat.

Your dentist can help you create a treatment plan if you already have mild to moderate gum disease. Treatment plans typically include intensive cleanings which go deep under the gums to remove hardened plaque.

These cleanings can be time-consuming and uncomfortable, so your dentist may give you a local anesthetic for discomfort and schedule your cleanings over a few treatments. Prescription toothpaste or mouth wash can also be provided to help keep gum disease from worsening.

More than two thirds of adults experience gum disease at some point in their lives, so make sure you take care of your teeth by brushing and flossing the right way. Your dentist can show you how to best care for your smile based on your dental needs.

Whether you need a consult for cosmetic dentistry or you are worried about the health of your gums, the experts at Moana Dental Care are here to assist you. Allow us to take care of your family's dental health today.

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