1. Don’t smoke!

People who smoke get gum disease at three times the rate of nonsmokers. Additionally, when smokers receive treatment for gum disease they don’t heal as well as non-smokers.

2. Avoid drinking colas, even diet cola.

Colas and many other carbonated beverages contain acid that weakens tooth enamel and makes it softer. Colas also stain teeth. If you can’t give up cola, using a fluoride rinse may help strengthen enamel.

3. Keep your mouth moist.

Having a dry mouth prevents acids and bacteria from being washed away. If you suffer from dry mouth, there are special rinses that may help. In addition, chewing sugarless gum and drinking plenty of water can be helpful.

4. Be vigilant about oral hygiene.

Faithfulness in flossing is especially important. It is one of the strongest weapons we have against periodontal disease. Every day, carefully floss between all teeth. Contour the floss around the side of each tooth and slide it up and down against the tooth. Continue flossing each tooth with a clean section of floss. If flossing is uncomfortable or makes your gums bleed it means you haven’t been doing enough of it. Your gums will toughen up as they become accustomed to it.

Brush your teeth at least twice daily with a soft bristle brush. Most people don’t brush long enough; brush a minimum of two minutes, preferably three. You can also purchase an electric toothbrush with a built in timer. Don’t forget to brush your tongue!