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  1. 1When normally healthy, pink, and firm gums become red, swollen, and spongy, you have a problem -- a problem called gingivitis. If the condition becomes severe enough, it can lead to periodontal disease -- a deterioration of the teeth and bone that anchor the teeth. So the first step in combating gingivitis is to make sure you’re brushing twice a day, flossing once a day, and visiting a dentist at least twice a year for a checkup and cleaning.
  2. 2When you brush your teeth, make sure you’re working it for at least two minutes. Most dentists suggest spending 30 seconds on each quadrant of your mouth.
  3. 3When it comes to germs, your tongue can be like Velcro, so brushing it along with your gums and teeth will not only help keep your breath fresher, but will reduce the chance that bacteria, viruses, or fungi find harbor in your mouth.
  4. 4Next, make the most out of your flossing time. Floss between every tooth, all the way down to the edge of the gum line at least once a day. 
  5. 5Finally, use an ADA-approved antimicrobial mouth rinse to finish off your routine. If these steps don’t keep gingivitis away, you’ll need to see a dentist right away. He or she may need to perform a more extensive cleaning or provide you with a prescription dental rinse, or both. 
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