- Brush your teeth at least twice a day. When you brush, don't rush. Take enough time to do a thorough job.
- Use the proper equipment. Use a fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush. Consider using a Sonicare toothbrush, especially if you have arthritis or other problems that make it difficult to brush effectively.
- Practice good technique. Hold your toothbrush at a slight angle against your teeth and brush with short back-and-forth motions. Remember to brush the inside and chewing surfaces of your teeth, as well as your tongue. Avoid vigorous or harsh scrubbing, which can irritate your gums
- Know when to replace your toothbrush. Invest in a new toothbrush or areplacement head for your electric toothbrush every three to four months — or sooner if the bristles become frayed.
Tooth brushing alone is not sufficient for cleaning the mouth. Dental floss is also an ideal method of preventing gum diseases.
Researchers have found that periodontitis (the advanced form of gum disease that can cause tooth loss) is associated with other health problems such as cardiovascular disease, stroke and bacterial pneumonia. Likewise, pregnant women who have periodontitis may be at increased risk for delivering pre-term and/or low birth weight babies.
Although reports suggest that periodontitis may contribute to these conditions, it is important to understand that just because two conditions occur at the same time, doesn’t necessarily mean that one condition causes the other. The relationship could work the other way. For example, there is evidence that diabetics are more likely to develop periodontitis and have more severe periodontitis than nondiabetics. Or two conditions that occur together may be caused by a third factor. People who smoke or use alcohol are at increased risk of developing periodontitis and a number of other health conditions, including oral cancer.