Gum disease is a frustrating, dangerous and even potentially-deadly problem. If you do not take good care of your oral health, it can quickly disrupt your life and lead to diseases and infections that will be painful to deal with. Even if you suspect that your oral health care routine is solid, the chances are that you still have room for improvement. To help you develop a daily oral health routine that will keep your mouth healthy, here are seven important tips for preventing gum disease:

1. Floss Regularly

Flossing is often overlooked by Americans when it comes to their daily oral health care routine. Unfortunately, this has led to increased instances of gum disease in those that fail to floss their teeth. Flossing at least once a day is recommended by dentists, but flossing after each meal is a great way to keep up with this prevention technique as well. Looking up a guide on how to properly and safely floss is recommended if you’re not already adjusted to flossing your teeth. The process can feel awkward at first, but with a little practice, you’ll feel as though you’ve flossed your entire life.

2. Schedule Regular Dental Cleanings

Gum disease is often caused by plaque buildup that’s missed while you’re flossing and brushing. By scheduling regular dental cleanings, your doctor will easily remove this potentially dangerous plaque buildup. Additionally, these frequent visits will give you a chance to be checked out. If you end up showing signs of an oral health problem, your doctor will catch it and help you treat it effectively. Dentists recommend going to the dentist for a cleaning and a check up every six months. Dentists can also help outfit you with any needed teeth covers or other dental implants if needed.

3. Avoid (or Quit) Smoking

Smoking is incredibly damaging for not only your oral health, but your overall bodily health. If you are currently smoking, getting help to treat your addiction will help drastically decrease your chances of developing gum cancer, or other life-threatening conditions. Your teeth will also gain a whiter, brighter shine (and your plaque buildup will decrease) if you stop smoking. If you have not started smoking, avoiding the habit is highly recommended by all medical professionals.

4. Brush Twice a Day (and Do it Right!)

Even if your oral health care routine is lightweight, you’re likely still brushing your teeth. However, there are many people who do not understand the specifics of how they’re supposed to brush their teeth. Not only does this remove plaque buildup, but it helps fight gum disease as well. Brushing your teeth twice a day, for two minutes, using circular motions on both sides is crucial to brushing your teeth as effectively as possible. Practicing this technique is important if you decide to switch up the way you brush. Doing so will ensure you are getting as efficient and effective a brush as possible every time.

5. Buy and Use Fluoride Toothpaste

Despite common perceptions, not all toothpaste is the same. Some toothpastes still are not using fluoride, which is the key ingredient that helps fight tooth yellowing and gum disease. Reduced rates of gingivitis and other oral issues are visible in populations that use fluoride-including toothpaste. Asking your dentist about which toothpaste is best for your specific oral health needs is highly recommended.

6. Use a Quality, Therapeutic Mouth Wash

Mouth wash is great for providing one final cleaning step during your daily oral health care routine. After you’ve brushed your teeth, flossed and cleaned your tongue, you should be using a mouth wash to finish the routine. Doing so using a dentist-approved, therapeutic mouth wash is particularly recommended, as they help further fight the chances of gingivitis, gum disease and teeth rot. Therapeutic mouth wash is cheap, and you can often buy enough to supply you for months for a very low cost (making it a must-buy for anyone reading this list).

7. Eat Foods Packed with Nutrients

A healthy diet is a surefire way to boost your body’s health in every category, including your oral health. Foods that are packed with nutrients, such as leafy greens, almonds and oils all benefit your oral health in a massive manner. Additionally, if you avoid high-sugar foods, and other unhealthy items you’ll keep your chances of developing gum disease extremely low.

Your Gums Deserve Your Attention

Keeping your gums healthy is essential to leading a comfortable, fulfilling life. Gum disease causes serious interruptions to your day-to-day activities, and can lead to serious, even life-threatening conditions if left untreated. By following these seven steps, however, your chances of developing a problematic, frustrating gum disease in your lifetime become much, much lower.