The prevention of gum disease is the goal of your dental care team. Gum disease is a chronic inflammation and infection of your gums and surrounding tissue and is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. The best way to reduce your risk is to brush and floss your teeth at least twice a day and to visit your dentist at least twice a year. As everyone's dental needs are unique, your dentist will provide you with home dental care instructions particular to your needs. Although you brush, floss, and rinse as directed by your dentist, there will be pockets of plaque that you're unable to reach with your toothbrush or dental floss. For that reason, a professional cleaning is the best defense against gum disease. Diet and nutrition are also important in the prevention of gum disease. Foods that contain sugars and starches attack your teeth for at least 20 minutes after eating. Between meal snacks are the most hazardous to your dental health if you're unable to brush, floss, or rinse after eating. Nutritious snacks such as yogurt, cheese, raw vegetables, and fruit pose less of a risk in plaque formation. A balanced diet is not only good for your general health, but your dental health as well. Fluoride is also necessary for strong, decay resistant teeth. Natural sources include food and water. Your dentist will be able to determine if you are getting enough fluoride in your diet. Additional sources include toothpaste, rinses, and tablet supplements.