The good news is that gingivitis is very easy to prevent! Most of the time, gingivitis symptoms occur in areas that need more thorough oral hygiene. While you might think you’re already practicing great oral hygiene, you might want to review the following tips to ensure you’re cleaning your teeth as well as you actually think you are. Because the bacteria under the gums in gingivitis is anaerobic – meaning that it lives in the absence of oxygen – getting oxygen into the area literally destroys the bacteria and helps halt the infection.
Always use a soft-bristled toothbrush. Many people use a medium to stiff bristled brush, but these can actually cause more harm than good. Too much pressure during brushing can cause gum recession and enamel abrasion, leaving large wedges in the roots of the teeth.
Consider an electric toothbrush. High-quality electric brushes have soft bristles that are not only gentle on your teeth, but they also remove more plaque than manual toothbrushes, allowing you to clean your teeth and gums more efficiently. Many electric toothbrushes also create a foaming action that helps penetrate areas under the gums and between the teeth, flushing out some of the bacteria.
Reassess your brushing method. Angle your toothbrush bristles at 45 degrees toward the gumlines. Focus on just two teeth at a time, and make short sweeping strokes back and forth. Only apply as much pressure as you need to cause the gums to slightly blanch. Too much pressure or the wrong angulation will not target gumline plaque and could cause gum recession.
Use a pure, anti-bacteria toothpaste. Conventional toothpastes are filled with potentially harmful ingredients. Even “natural” toothpastes have abrasives and other additives. The best choice is to use a 100% pure botanical toothpaste that is proven to kill the bacteria that lead to gum problems like gingivitis, without any of the harsh chemicals.
Check your flossing technique. Flossing should not be simply taking a piece of floss and sliding up and down between the teeth several times. This can cause gum damage and does not target the plaque biofilm under the gums. Instead, wrap your floss in a “C” shape against each tooth, sliding up and down two to three times under the gumlines. This method protects the gums as well as helps remove debris that collects along the gum margin.
Think about using a water flosser. Water flossers are able to remove plaque deeply below the gums, between the teeth, and under hard to reach areas such as bridges or rough restorations that you might have problems cleaning with normal floss. Water flossers are great for people with limited dexterity or simply don’t want to mess with floss in the first place. They are shown to reduce symptoms of gingivitis even more than some electric toothbrushes.
Eat a balanced diet and get plenty of exercise. Eating the right foods, staying active and taking nutritional supplements can help strengthen your cardiovascular and immune systems, making it easier for your body to fight any infectious conditions.
Avoid tobacco. If you smoke, you are more likely to suffer from untreatable gum disease. Conditions like gingivitis may not be evident because the cigarette smoke causes blood vessels to atrophy, so you may never even be aware that you have a problem to begin with. Once the gingivitis progresses into periodontal disease it is nearly impossible to reverse unless you give up smoking.
Receive routine preventive care from your dentist. Having routine cleanings can remove any calcified bacterial deposits that would otherwise harbor conditions that encourage gingivitis. Your dentist can also identify any problem areas that may be susceptible to gingivitis, such as aging dental work or fillings with rough margins. If you have crowded teeth your dentist may recommend orthodontic therapy, which makes it easier to keep teeth clean and healthy.
Rinse with a pure mouthwash. When your mouth is trying to heal, it needs all the extra help it can get. Rinsing is one of the best ways to kill excess bacteria and help promote a healthy environment in your mouth. It’s best to rinse twice per day, after brushing and/or flossing. Be sure to swish and gargle thoroughly to help kill the bacteria in the entire mouth including the back of the tongue. It’s best to avoid alcohol-containing mouthwashes, because they can try out the mouth. A dry mouth is a breeding ground for bad bacteria, which cause gingivitis and other gum problems.
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