Q:

How do you prevent periodontal disease?

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Quick Answer

Individuals can prevent periodontal disease by committing to good oral hygiene habits, the American Academy of Periodontology states. Doctors recommend flossing at least once a day to clear away food particles and plaque around the gumline and between teeth. Brushing the teeth and tongue after meals also cleans out harmful debris and oral bacteria, and people can gargle mouthwash to loosen trapped particles that are difficult to reach with a toothbrush.

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Full Answer

Visit a dentist for cleanings at least twice annually to prevent plaque buildup, according to WebMD. Lower the risk of developing periodontal disease by avoiding damaging habits, such as grinding teeth or smoking. Doctors also suggest eating a nutrient-rich diet to help the immune system resist infections. Consume foods high in antioxidants and vitamins, such as leafy greens, nuts and citrus fruits, that help the body repair tissue damage. If other family members have gum disease, you may be susceptible to the condition and should get cleanings and dental checkups more frequently than the standard recommendations.

Periodontal disease occurs when bacteria collect in vulnerable areas of the mouth, gradually wearing away tissue supporting the teeth, WebMD notes. Inflammation in the gums leads to bleeding, and in advanced stages, the gums and bones pull away from the teeth, allowing more bacteria to invade the diseased tissues. Common symptoms of periodontal disease include bleeding during brushing, swollen or tender gums, loose teeth, and persistent bad breath.

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