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Reducing Your Risk of Periodontal Disease

The following steps can help reduce your risk of developing periodontal disease:

  • Follow good dental self-care practices.
  • Get regular professional dental care.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Eat nutritiously.
  • Brush your teeth twice daily:
    • Use an end-rounded, soft-bristled toothbrush.
    • If you have trouble managing with a manual toothbrush, consider using an electric toothbrush.
    • Brush first with a dry brush; follow this by brushing with toothpaste.
    • Dry brushing should take about 90 seconds.
    • Brushing with toothpaste should take about 30 seconds.
    • Use a toothpaste containing fluoride.
    • Hold your brush at a 45° angle with the bristles toward the gum.
    • Brush every tooth surface and along the gum line, using small, circular motions.
  • Clean between your teeth once each day, using either floss or another cleaning aid prescribed by your dentist
  • Ask your dentist if you would benefit from a fluoride mouth rinse.

You should see your dentist every six months for a careful cleaning and for a thorough dental checkup. Furthermore, if you’ve already been diagnosed with periodontal disease, you should have a more thorough cleaning every three months.

Smoking is a major risk factor for the development of periodontal disease. Talk to your doctor about programs and aids to help you stop smoking .

A nutritious diet can help you fight all forms of infection, including the kind that causes periodontal disease. Ask your doctor whether you would benefit from:

  • Working with a nutritionist
  • Taking vitamin supplements, especially vitamin C

Revision Information

  • Gum disease. American Dental Association's Mouth Healthy website. Available at: http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/g/gum-disease . Accessed October 14, 2013.

  • Gum disease information. American Academy of Periodontology website. Available at: http://www.perio.org/consumer/gum-disease.htm . Accessed October 14, 2013.

  • Periodontal (gum) disease. National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research website. Available at: http://www.nidcr.nih.gov/DataStatistics/FindDataByTopic/GumDisease/ . Accessed October 14, 2013.