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4 Tips for Preventing Periodontal Disease at Home

girl floss
Periodontal disease is a serious condition that affects nearly half of the American population over age 30. The disease affects the gum tissue and bone surrounding teeth and can lead to tooth decay, tooth loss, receding gum lines, and other dental concerns.
Although it begins as gingivitis, or common gum disease, full periodontal disease requires extensive oral cleanings and dental care to treat. Signs of periodontal disease include.
  • Bad breath
  • Bleeding or swollen gums
  • Receding gums
  • Pain in the jawline
  • Discolored gum tissue
You can do your part to prevent periodontal disease by taking care of your teeth at home. In addition to seeing your dentist for bi-annual checkups and cleanings, follow these four tips for greater oral health.
1. Floss Regularly
Any time is a good time to floss your teeth, and you don't have to wait until you brush them to break out the floss. Flossing removes plaque and bacteria as well as stubborn food particles that may be left over after you brush your teeth.
Ask your dentist which style and brand of floss works best for your teeth. Options include regular dental floss or Y-shaped floss holders.
No matter which type you use, gently probe under your gum line between each tooth when flossing. Report any bleeding, pain, or sensitivity to your dentist, as these symptoms can indicate an existing gum condition that needs treatment. Flossing should only take a few moments out of your day and helps protect your gums against inflammatory diseases.
2. Don't Smoke
Smoking not only yellows your teeth and is bad for your health, but it is also a leading cause of periodontal disease. Smoking causes your immune system to weaken, making it harder for you to keep plaque and bacteria from attacking your gums and teeth.
Avoid smoking, but if you do smoke, talk to your dentist about prescription toothpastes or mouthwashes you can use to help prevent periodontal disease.
3. Use Mouthwash
Mouthwash should be swished around your mouth for 30 seconds following brushing to help remove any existing food particles, bacteria, and plaque that brushing can miss. Gargling mouthwash can help whisk away bacteria that rest on your tongue, too. If you have gingivitis already or have sensitive tooth enamel, your dentist can prescribe you a mouthwash to use.
Remember, mouthwash is not an alternative to brushing or flossing. Make sure to brush your teeth on a daily basis following meals and take time at least once a day to floss.
4. Use the Right Toothbrush
Toothbrushes come in a few varieties so you can customize your daily teeth cleaning. You can choose a traditional toothbrush with soft, medium, or hard bristles. You can also use an electric toothbrush, which uses a vibrating motion with a brush head to clean your teeth.
Many dentists recommend electric toothbrushes over manual versions because they can be more effective at cleaning teeth, removing plaque, and cleaning germs off the tongue. Your dentist will help you choose what type of toothbrush is best for you based on your age, overall oral health, and any existing gum disease you may have.
Remember that you should brush your teeth for two minutes, using an up-and-down motion to clean your teeth; don’t move the brush side to side. Make sure to brush behind your teeth and gently brush your gums for optimum cleaning.

Periodontal disease is a real threat as you age, and it affects many people in the US. You can do your part to preserve your oral health by seeing your dentist regularly and brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash daily. At Tomsik Family Dentistry, we offer periodontal care for all patients.