Starting the Year off Fresh: 5 Ways to Prevent Periodontal Disease in 2023

Periodontal Disease, or gum disease as it is more commonly known, as a widely used term used to describe one of multiple stages of inflammation, wear, infection, and/or decay to gum tissue, bone, and teeth.  This extremely common condition occurs in over 50% of the American population at some level of severity, though prevention is certainly not impossible!  As we look forward to 2023, here are 5 ways to start your smile off on the right foot and prevent gum disease in the new year!

  1. Don’t hurry! Don’t rush! Do it right when you brush!

When it comes to your oral health, there is no need to rush it!  Brushing your teeth may be the most important aspect of maintaining good oral health, particularly along your gumline, as it is one of the first lines of defense against tooth decay and gum disease!  Most people realize that brushing is important, but do you know HOW to brush properly?

Experts recommend brushing your teeth a minimum of twice per day for at least two minutes with a fluoride-based toothpaste to minimize buildup of plaque, tarter, and bacteria on teeth and along the gum line while keeping teeth strong. Brushing with a soft bristle brush is important, as is the size of your toothbrush.1  Make sure to talk with your dentist about the type of toothbrush you should be using.  Make sure to use proper technique when brushing, placing the brush at a 45-degree angle to the gum line.1  Use short brush strokes and gently brush all surfaces of the tooth, not just chewing surfaces.  Once you have completed side to side motions, make sure to use vertical strokes as well to cover all the tooth surface area!1

Another important aspect of brushing your teeth is the use of an electric toothbrush.  Not only are electric toothbrushes more efficient in polishing your teeth, but they can also aid in freeing debris from your gumline that a manual brush simply cannot get!  If you have the ability, invest in an electric toothbrush, but, either way, make sure to do it right when you brush!

  1. The answers lie in between the teeth!

Experts agree, flossing is an important aspect of dental care. 1 When you eat, food, and more importantly plaque and tarter build up, can gather between your teeth causing inflammation of the gums and tooth decay regardless of how good you are about brushing.  This food and bacteria can cause pockets to form along the gumline, allowing for more food and bacteria to become trapped, the gums to become inflamed and infected, periodontal disease to progress, and, eventually, bone and tooth loss leading to the need for tooth replacement in the form of dental implants.

Flossing can help alleviate these pockets from forming or worsening by cleaning out bacteria and plaque buildup and removing food that may have become trapped along the way.  However, flossing should not be a once-in-a-while, when food gets caught, endeavor!  Floss daily, at least once a day, between all teeth to make sure you are staying on top of keeping the space between clean and clear!1

  1. Signs, signs are everywhere!

    Caucasian making a heart with hands around a healthy smile white teeth

    Paying attention to your gum health can lead to not only a healthier, happier 2023, but a healthier happier life as well!

Do you know the signs and symptoms of gum disease?  They may be more common than you think!  Believe it or not, one of the first signs of gum disease is bleeding when brushing or flossing.  This can occur prior to any other irritation being noticed and is a sign of gingivitis, so it is not something that should be ignored.  More advanced signs of gum disease include pain and irritation, recession of the gum line so more of the tooth can be seen above the gums, and, in severe cases, loose teeth or tooth loss!  If you start to notice early signs of gum disease, don’t fret, or be embarrassed!  See a periodontist like Dr. Upasna Janu right away to stop problems before they start!

  1. You are what you eat!

Your diet plays a much more important role in preventing gum disease than you might think.  Just like there are certain foods to avoid to ward off tooth decay and dental health issues such as sugary soda or candies, there are also foods that can help strengthen teeth, enamel and gum health!  Foods high in calcium such as milk and cheese are widely known to help tooth help, and high protein foods such as meat and fish can help strengthen tooth enamel!2  Foods high in fiber, like fruits and vegetables, can help keep teeth clean and stimulate saliva production, while the high vitamin C concentration in many fruits and vegetables aids in strong, healthy gums and would healing!2

  1. Visiting hours are open!

Seeing your friendly neighborhood periodontist, like Dr. Upasna Janu, should not be a once-a-year event you dread!  Staying on top of your periodontal health may originate at home, but maintenance with a periodontist is also extremely important.  Our home care routines can be top of the line, but they still won’t allow for full avoidance without professional help!  This is where Dr. Janu comes in!  An appointment with Dr. Janu every 3 months, or quarterly, can ensure you are staying on top of your gum health and keeping your smile shining long after 2023 comes to a close! 

Make a resolution in 2023 to make gum health a priority! Your smile, and your future self, will thank you!

  1. Brushing Your Teeth.   Updated 2022. Accessed December 27, 2022. 
  2. Nutrition: What you Eat Affects your Teeth.   Updated 2022. Accessed December 27, 2022. . 

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