How You Can Help Prevent Gum Disease

by Dr. Follette

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, can be a big problem if left untreated. But before you even reach the treatment stage, there are things you can do to help prevent gum disease from ever affecting you. Let’s take a closer look at what this disease is, and the different prevention methods.

What Causes Gum Disease?

Gum disease is the result of bacteria and plaque (a colorless, sticky film) buildup between the teeth and gums. As the bacteria grows, the surrounding gums become inflamed. The more inflamed the gums become, the more likely it is that the person will experience discomfort and bleeding.

What Happens If Gum Disease Goes Untreated?

Eventually, the diseased gums will begin deteriorating. Even worse, the bone structure supporting the gums and teeth will also start eroding. In some cases this erosion results in gum recession, and ultimately, tooth loss. Also, it’s believed that a connection may exist between gum disease and other serious ailments, such as heart disease and diabetes.

Carol E. Follette DDS in Santa Monica offers effective gum disease treatments: for example, periodontal laser treatment.

Tips For Preventing Gum Disease

Eliminate Risky Behavior

Smoking is a big contributor to gum disease and a host of other oral complications. Quitting smoking brings big benefits for your teeth and gums, not to mention the rest of your body. Along with smoking cessation, it’s important to maintain a healthy diet. Too many sugary foods/drinks and not enough protein contributes to the onset and exacerbation of gum disease.

Other factors that increase the likelihood of gum disease are age and genetics. But while we can’t control either, you can make good lifestyle choices that counter (to some extent) your genetics and the issues that arise with aging.

Brush Your Teeth

As we all know, brushing regularly contributes to a clean mouth – and a clean mouth is the best defense against gum disease. When you brush your teeth, you remove much of the food particles and plaque that find their way onto the teeth and the gums. And don’t just brush your teeth – brush your tongue too, since it’s a prime location for bacteria to lurk.

Use Mouthwash

When you combine tooth-brushing with a mouthwash swish, you remove even more of the plaque and food residue from your mouth. Mouthwash also penetrates areas that your toothbrush might not reach, and disinfects your tongue and the roof of your mouth.


Flossing is another great way to access spots along the gum line that your toothbrush may have missed. And of course, flossing is also good for dislodging food particles from between the teeth.

Visit a Periodontist

It’s a smart move to visit a local periodontist for an annual exam called a comprehensive periodontal evaluation (CPE). A CPE covers your gums, teeth, and plaque content, along with your bite and bone structure. The goal is to identify any gum disease symptoms early-on so that your mouth can be well-protected.

Carol E. Follette DDS offers decades of experience in a wide range of oral care practices, fromlaser periodontics and dental bonding, to veneers and family dentistry. Count on us to keep your mouth (and your family’s mouths too) healthy and clean.