At James Peterson Family & Cosmetic Dentistry, we continually stress the importance of maintaining a proper oral hygiene routine. We see most patients only a few times during the year, and that means they need to be diligent about properly cleaning and caring for their teeth on their own. Many patients assume that preventing tooth decay is the reason we are so passionate about cleaning teeth properly. Aside from decay, there are other harmful conditions you can develop that can seriously affect your oral health now and in the future. Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is one of these issues.