Preventing Gum Disease

The early stage of gum disease is called gingivitis. When it's left untreated, gingivitis can develop into periodontitis. Severe cases of periodontitis are associated with tooth loss, heart disease and diabetes. By practicing good oral hygiene habits, you can prevent your chances of developing gum disease.

Brushing

Food on the teeth can turn into plaque. When plaque is untreated it can turn into tartar, which in turn causes gum disease. Once tartar has formed, you can't remove it by flossing or brushing. A dental professional needs to remove it. However, you can prevent plaque from forming on your teeth by brushing your teeth after eating. Always brush your tongue, since bacteria can accumulate there. Remember to brush at least two times a day, for three minutes each time. Use fluoridated toothpaste and brush along your gum line.

Flossing

Flossing every day removes plaque and food particles between your teeth. Often, a toothbrush can't reach these areas, so flossing is imperative. Try using a floss holder if you need to make flossing easier and faster.

Mouthwash

You can also reduce plaque by using mouthwash, because sometimes flossing and brushing doesn't remove all food particles. Mouthwash alone can remove up to 20 percent of plaque from your teeth. Mouthwash isn't a substitute for flossing and brushing, but another way to reduce plaque after you've brushed and flossed.

Healthy Eating

Eating too many sugary or starchy foods increases your chances of gum disease. A healthy diet will ensure that you have the nutrients you need to prevent gum disease, like vitamin C and vitamin A.

Regular Dentist Visits

The best way to prevent gum disease is by regularly visiting the dentist. When you visit, he or she can inspect your mouth for the early signs of gum disease. The dentist can also remove built up plaque from your teeth further prevent disease. In severe cases, the dentist may recommend scaling and rooting to treat gum infections and periodontal pockets. Pockets that are larger than five millimeters deep can often require surgery, as they are dangerous and allow bacteria to infect the gums or bones.