Can periodontitis be prevented?

Periodontitis can be prevented. See your dentist for professional cleanings regularly. Additionally, practice good oral hygiene at home by brushing at least twice a day, flossing daily, and using a mouth wash.

Periodontitis or inflammation around the teeth can be prevented with excellent dental hygiene habits. To prevent periodontitis, brush your teeth twice daily and after meals, using a fluoride toothpaste. Floss at least once a day to remove all of the plaque, debris, and food from between the teeth. Flossing also stimulates your gums to keep them healthy. In addition, see your dentist at least every six months for a regular professional cleaning and dental evaluation. If your dentist notes a problem with early stages of gum disease, he or she can do a thorough cleaning to remove the tartar (calculus) that has built up between the teeth and the gums. Most importantly, don't smoke cigarettes, as smoking is a main risk factor for periodontitis.
Steven Bradway

Periodontitis is a genetically inherited disease that is acquired at birth and is present for life. In 80% of people with periodontitis it begins to show up as tooth associated bone loss in the late twenties to mid-thirties and, if untreated, progresses painlessly until patients lose their teeth. The bone loss can be stopped with treatment; so yes the damage caused by the disease can be stopped, but we cannot prevent the genetic trait from being acquired and we cannot remove it once it has been inherited. After the diagnosis of periodontitis is made the patient needs to be treated for life to prevent inflammation from developing in their gum tissue; even mild long-term inflammation can produce significant bone loss. Unless the inflammation is severe most patients do not know they have it. Successful treatment requires a long term relationship with a dentist, a hygienist, and/or a periodontist that can identify and eliminate gingival inflammation over the patient’s life time.  

Carol Jahn
In many cases, periodontitis is preventable. The number one risk factor is smoking. People who smoke tend to lose the most teeth. Another strong risk factor is diabetes. While you can't change this, people who have hard time controlling their diabetes tend to have the most severe cases of periodontitis. Genetics also plays a role influencing about 50% of your risk. Good oral hygiene -- brushing twice a day and cleaning between your teeth (floss, interdental cleaner, water flosser) can help you modify your risk. 
Periodontitis is preventable. By stopping gum disease early -- when it's called gingivitis, the only reversible stage -- you will never have to worry about periodontitis. Chronic periodontitis can lead to the loss of tissue and bone that support the teeth and it may become more severe over time. If it does, your teeth will feel loose and start moving around in your mouth. This is the most common form of periodontitis in adults but can occur at any age. It usually gets worse slowly, but there can be periods of rapid progression.

Continue Learning about Periodontitis

What Is Gum Disease?
What Is Gum Disease?
“A chronic infection leads to chronic inflammation and an immune system that’s in overdrive all the time,” says Nancy Newhouse, DDS, MS, a board-certi...
Read More
How common is periodontitis?
Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)
Periodontitis is very common. It is particularly common in adults who have had or do have gingivitis...
More Answers
Should I talk to my doctor about my periodontitis symptoms?
American Dental AssociationAmerican Dental Association
If you notice swelling and redness in the tissues around your teeth, you may have periodontitis, a f...
More Answers
Walk Your Way to a Nicer Smile
Walk Your Way to a Nicer Smile

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.