Periodontal gum disease is the leading cause of premature tooth loss in adults. Luckily, if caught early enough, the condition can be treated. If you've been diagnosed with periodontitis – the most devastating form of gum disease – you need to have it treated as quickly as possible. With proper care, you can reduce your chances of premature tooth loss. You can also prevent the other health risks that are associated with periodontitis, including heart attack and stroke.

Once you've received treatment for periodontal gum disease, it's important that you maintain proper dental hygiene, including semi-annual dental visits, as well as brushing and flossing at least twice a day. Failing to take proper care of your teeth could cause your periodontitis to return. Here are four additional steps you can take to prevent a flare-up.

Drink Lots of Water

If you're not drinking enough water, you could be putting your mouth at risk for a return of periodontal gum disease. Water helps keep your mouth properly hydrated, and helps flush out the harmful bacteria that could be harming your teeth and gums. To keep your mouth healthy, be sure to have a bottle of water on hand at all times throughout the day.

Chew Gum

It isn't always possible to brush and floss your teeth following a meal. That doesn't mean you need to allow plaque and bacteria to buildup. If you can't brush your teeth after a meal, chew on a piece of sugar-free gum. The gum will remove food particles that could be stuck between your teeth. It will also stimulate the production of saliva, which helps reduce the chances of developing gum disease.

Stop Smoking

If you've been treated for gum disease, and you're still smoking, you need to stop. According to research, smoking weakens the immune system, which limits your body's ability to fight infection, and increases your chances of developing gum disease. If you've been unable to quit smoking on your own, consider using a smoking-cessation program. 

Know the Warning Signs

If you're recovering from gum disease, you probably know the initial signs of the disease, including red, swollen gums, or bleeding when you brush or floss your teeth. However, you might not be aware of the other warning signs. If you develop any of the following signs, be sure to see your dentist as soon as possible.

  • Pus oozing from your gums
  • Foul breath
  • Unusual taste in your mouth

Don't take chances with your teeth and gums. If you've received treatment for gum disease, the information provided here will help you avoid a recurrence of the disease. Be sure to talk to your dentist, like The Family Dentist, about other ways to keep your teeth and gums healthy.