Self-management

Steps you can take at home to prevent and reverse gingivitis include:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day or, better yet, after every meal or snack.
  • Use a soft toothbrush and replace it at least every three to four months.
  • Consider using an electric toothbrush, which may be more effective at removing plaque and tartar.
  • Floss daily.
  • Use a mouth rinse to help reduce plaque between your teeth.
  • Supplement brushing and flossing with an interdental cleaner, such as a dental pick, interdental brush or dental stick specially designed to clean between your teeth.
  • Get regular professional dental cleanings on a schedule recommended by your dentist.
  • Don't smoke or chew tobacco.
  • Good oral hygiene. That means brushing your teeth for two minutes at least twice daily — in the morning and before going to bed — and flossing at least once a day. Better yet, brush after every meal or snack or as your dentist recommends. Flossing before you brush allows you to clean away the loosened food particles and bacteria.
  • Regular dental visits. See your dentist or dental hygienist regularly for cleanings, usually every six to 12 months. If you have risk factors that increase your chance of developing periodontitis — such as having dry mouth, taking certain medications or smoking — you may need professional cleaning more often. Annual dental X-rays can help identify diseases that are not seen by a visual dental examination and monitor for changes in your dental health.
  • Good health practices. Practices such as healthy eating and managing blood sugar if you have diabetes also are important to maintain gum health.
Aug. 04, 2017
References
  1. Wilder RS, et al. Gingivitis and periodontitis in adults: Classification and dental treatment. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Nov. 11, 2016.
  2. Periodontal (gum) disease: Causes, symptoms, and treatments. National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. http://www.nidcr.nih.gov/oralhealth/Topics/GumDiseases/PeriodontalGumDisease.htm#. Accessed Nov. 10, 2016.
  3. Gum disease information. American Academy of Periodontology. https://www.perio.org/consumer/gum-disease.htm. Accessed Nov. 10, 2016.
  4. Gum disease. American Dental Association. http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/g/gum-disease. Accessed Nov. 11, 2016.
  5. Brushing your teeth. American Dental Association. http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/b/brushing-your-teeth. Accessed Nov. 15, 2016.
  6. Gingival inflammation without loss of periodontal attachment (gingivitis). American Dental Association. http://www.ada.org/en/science-research/dental-practice-parameters/gingival-inflammation-without-loss-of-periodontal-attachment. Accessed Nov. 15, 2016.
  7. Gingivitis. American Dental Association. http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/g/gingivitis. Accessed Nov. 15, 2016.
  8. Gingivitis. Merck Manual Professional Version. https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/dental-disorders/periodontal-disorders/gingivitis. Accessed Nov. 15, 2016.
  9. Salinas TJ (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Nov. 19, 2016.