Self-management

Lifestyle and home remedies

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.

Prevention

  • 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.