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Toothache and Gum Problems - Prevention

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.
    actionset.gif 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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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: July 24, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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Number of Days Per Week I Floss

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Only 18.5% of Americans never floss. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Floss removes food trapped between the teeth and removes the film of bacteria that forms there before it turns to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Try flossing just one tooth to get started.

You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for 3 more days!

You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily, but you're well on your way to making a positive impact on your teeth and gums. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for all 7 days!

Only 50.5% of Americans floss daily, and good for you that you are one of them! Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Congratulations on your good oral health habit!

SOURCES:

American Dental Association, Healthy People 2010

This tool is intended only for adults 18 and older.

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