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Lifestyle Changes to Manage Periodontal Disease

Even if you have already been diagnosed with periodontal disease, you may be able to avoid progression of the disease or possible complications by following your dentist’s advice for managing your condition.

Follow Good Self-care Practices

  • 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.
    • 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.
  • Visit your dentist for professional cleaning and a thorough check-up every 6 months.

When to Contact Your Dentist

Do not wait for your regularly scheduled dental appointment if you notice:

  • Increase in gum tenderness, redness, or bleeding
  • Pus between your teeth or coming from your gums
  • Loose teeth or any teeth that seem less stable
  • New onset of pain or discomfort

Managing Periodontal Disease

Stop Smoking

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

Eat a Healthful Diet

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

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

Revision Information

  • Brushing your teeth. The American Dental Association's Mouth Healthy website. Available at: Accessed August 17, 2016.

  • Gum (Periodontal) Disease. NIH SeniorHealth website. Available at: Accessed August 17, 2016.

  • Periodontal disease. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: Updated March 10, 2015. Accessed August 17, 2016.

  • Periodontal (gum) disease. National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research website. Available at: Updated September 2013. Accessed August 17, 2016.

  • Periodontal treatments and procedures. American Academy of Periodontology website. Available at: Accessed August 17, 2016.

  • Proper brushing. American Dental Hygienists' Association website. Available at: Accessed August 17, 2016.