Periodontal disease is an inflammatory disease that affects the soft and hard structures that support the teeth. In its early stage, called gingivitis, the gums become swollen and red due to inflammation, which is the body’s natural response to the presence of harmful bacteria. To prevent periodontal disease, you should brush your teeth for two minutes, twice per day. Brushing after meals helps remove food debris and plaque trapped between your teeth and gums. Floss at least once per day. Swish with water after meals or use mouthwash. See your dentist or hygienist every 3 to 6 months.