How to Prevent Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is a type of inflammation that occurs along the gum line. Also known as gum disease, this condition can be very dangerous and painful. If left untreated, it can result in tooth loss, and a growing amount of medical research is showing that the inflammation and infection of gum disease can lead to heart problems and diabetes. Periodontal disease might sound scary, but you will be happy to learn that it is entirely preventable. Follow these steps to keep your gum line as healthy as possible.


Make Sure You Brush Your Teeth the Right Way

Of course the most obvious step to preventing periodontal disease is simply brushing your teeth twice a day. However, this can actually be a little trickier than it sounds. You need to make sure you are brushing your teeth for two minutes, which is a little longer than it might seem, so it is a good idea to set a timer. Many dentists find that their patients are not paying enough attention to the gumline while they brush their teeth. You need to put your brush at a 45 degree angle where the brush is half on the teeth and half on the gums. Then you need to gently move it back and forth to clean the gumline. This is important because most of the bacteria that cause gum disease collect along the gumline.


Never Forget the Importance of Flossing

Though regular tooth brushing may be the most important way of preventing gum disease, it cannot thoroughly clean your entire mouth. Flossing is essential because it cleans the spaces in between your teeth that cannot be reached by a brush. It is best to floss first and then brush, so your toothbrush can remove the debris loosened by flossing. You only need to floss once a day to get the gum disease prevention benefits of flossing. Keep in mind that it is not normal for the gums to bleed heavily while flossing. If they do, this is a sign that you are already in the early stages of gum disease.


Use the Right Type of Toothbrush

While brushing your teeth, it is absolutely essential that you are using the correct type of toothbrush. A brush with stiff bristles can cause degredations and microscopic scratching along the gums that further advances disease. You need a very soft brush to clean the gums without causing your gum line to recede. It is important to use a toothbrush that has time to dry in between uses because a constantly damp toothbrush can harbor bacteria that worsen gum disease. If you are brushing your teeth more than twice a day, like many dentists recommend, you may need to buy two toothbrushes and alternate between them.


Eat a Mouth Healthy Diet

Gum disease is so dangerous because the infection easily reaches your jawbone and causes the bones in the jaw to decay until they cannot properly hold onto the teeth. You can help to avoid this dangerous part of gum disease by making sure that your jawbone is as healthy as possible. To do this, eat a diet high in calcium and vitamin D. Calcium, which helps to build more bone cells, can be found in dairy, nuts, seeds, and leafy green vegetables. Vitamin D helps the body to absorb calcium properly, and you can find it in eggs, fatty fish, and other animal proteins. Vitamin D is also helpful because it has anti-inflammatory effects. A study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that subjects with high vitamin D levels were 20 percent less likely to have gingivitis. Another helpful nutrient for preventing periodontal disease is vitamin C which helps to reduce inflammation and keep your gums from bleeding while you floss.


Find a Proper Mouthwash

You can further ensure that your mouth is clear of the plaque and buildup that cause gum disease by swishing a mouthwash around your mouth after you brush your teeth. This helps to kill any bacteria that you miss, and it can dislodge bits of food that are still stuck in the mouth after brushing and flossing. Mouthwashes that contain either domiphen bromide or cetylpyridinium chloride are most likely to reduce dental plaque.


Realize the Dangers of Tobacco

One of the biggest risk factors for gum disease is using tobacco in any form. Smokers have twice as high a risk of periodontal disease as nonsmokers. Smoking tobacco is so dangerous because it impairs circulation throughout the body. Without the ability to get nutrient and oxygen rich blood cells, the gums struggle to fight off infections. Once your body’s weakened immune system is defeated, bacteria that cause gum disease can flourish in the mouth. Because people who use tobacco heal so much slower, normal treatments for periodontal disease may not be as effective. It can be hard for some people to stop smoking, but many people find that modern e-cigarettes are helpful because they can slowly reduce nicotine levels over time.


These methods can all help to prevent gum disease from happening in the first place, but it is still important to seek medical treatment if you are dealing with periodontal issues. If you want a happier and pain free smile, look no further than King of Prussia Periodontics and Dental Implants. Our talented team of doctors is led by Dr. Melissa Cruz, a leading expert in periodontal surgery and dental implant therapy. Call us today at 610-783-7800 or reach us at to learn more about how we can help you achieve your best possible smile.

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