7 Simple Ways to Help Prevent Periodontal Disease in Adults

7 Simple Ways to Help Prevent Periodontal Disease in Adults

Commonly known as “gum disease,” periodontal disease is caused by a bacterial infection of your gum tissue, eventually resulting in tooth and bone loss. While there’s no cure for periodontal disease once it has set in, it can be successfully managed in its earliest stages. However, this disease can be avoided entirely by following a few simple preventative tips.

1. Brush Two Times a Day

Brushing twice daily clears food debris and prevents the buildup of plaque and bacteria. Not only does this protect your teeth from cavities, it reduces the likelihood of developing a bacterial infection, which can put you at risk for periodontal disease. To further protect your gums, use a fluoride toothpaste and a toothbrush with soft bristles. You should also be aware that your toothbrush can accumulate bacteria over time. According to the American Dental Association, you should aim to replace your toothbrush every 2-3 months.

2. Floss Once a Day

Flossing cleans the tight spaces between the teeth that can’t be reached with your toothbrush alone. More importantly, it can reach the spaces under the line of your gums. This prevents bacterial colonies from settling into your gums to trigger potential infections.

3. Brush Your Tongue

Your tongue contains hundreds of tiny nooks and crannies that can harbor bacteria, which can eventually spread to your teeth and gums. Every time you brush your teeth, take a moment to scrub the surface of your tongue to ensure a thorough cleaning.

4. Watch Sugar Intake

Sugar is bad for your oral health because it can feed the bacteria in your mouth. This is the main cause of many dental issues, including periodontal disease. Be aware of foods that can be unexpectedly high in sugar, such as salad dressings, pizza crusts, or canned beans and vegetables. Many beverages are also high in sugar, including “healthy” drinks like 100% fruit juices, sports drinks, or smoothies.

5. Limit Acidic Foods

Along with sugary foods, acidic foods can endanger your oral health by eroding your teeth and gums. Some examples include carbonated drinks, black coffee, raw fruit, and tomato sauce. If you do eat or drink something acidic, taking a drink of water can protect your teeth and gums from erosion by flushing and hydrating your mouth.

6. Don’t Skip Dental Cleanings

Preventative care via regular dental cleanings is the most important strategy in your fight against periodontal disease. While your at-home routine can help maintain a clean, hygienic mouth, the professional-grade tools at your dentist’s office make it possible to clean all areas of the mouth effectively. A professional cleaning also provides an opportunity to spot potential issues in the early stages.

7. Quit Smoking

Smoking weakens your body’s immune system and contributes to the buildup of bacteria in the mouth. This can make it impossible for your gums to heal, which may accelerate the progression of gum disease. Adults who smoke are more than twice as likely to develop periodontal disease than non-smokers. If maintaining optimal oral health is a priority for you, it’s important to eliminate smoking.