Gum disease—or periodontal disease—is an infection of the bone and gum tissues caused by an accumulation of plaque and bacteria. Many symptoms of gum disease do not appear until advanced stages of the disease, but indications may include persistent bad breath odor, sores or pus in between teeth, loose teeth or separation and movement in your regular bite, swollen gums, and bleeding when brushing or flossing. Although surgery is one option for combating gum disease, alternative treatments can be employed to help fight periodontal disease.
Maintain proper oral hygiene to halt the progression of gum disease. Brush your teeth a minimum of twice daily for at least 2 minutes with a soft-bristled toothbrush and toothpaste.
Perform a thorough daily cleaning with an interdental cleaner or dental floss to clean hard-to-reach places between teeth. Avoid smoking, sugary drinks and foods, and eat a balanced diet with plenty of fresh vegetables and lean meats to maintain balanced pH levels.
Have your teeth regularly scaled and rooted if your pockets are larger than 3 mm to remove plaque and tartar buildup.
Work with your regular physician to maintain hormonal balance, as fluctuations in levels in females promote gingivitis. Diabetes is also a high-risk factor, so if you suffer from the disease try to maintain a balanced glucose level to avoid periodontal infections. Avoid medications that decrease saliva production, such as some antidepressants and heart medications, as saliva protects your teeth and gums.
Ask your dentist about medications that may cut down on infections; antimicrobial mouth rinses such as chlorhexidine can help control bacteria in the mouth. Also available are antiseptic chips that can be placed in deep pockets of gums (due to gum recession) to slowly release medicine, as well as antibiotics and medicated gels.