Gum disease results from plaque building up on the teeth and weakening and destroying the tooth’s natural enamel. It is painful and can lead to other dental and health problems. Sadly, more than 25% of American adults have some form of gum disease. This is a good indication that many adults are not taking proper care of their gums.
Gum disease has two primary forms: gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is the earlier stage of gum disease. It manifests as bleeding and pockets around the teeth. Proper home care and regular dentist visits may resolve it if caught early on. Periodontitis follows untreated gingivitis. It is more destructive. Periodontitis causes severe inflammation, bleeding, gums loosening from the teeth and jawline, and ultimately, adult tooth loss.
If you are in the percentage without gum issues, you want to remain there. You can do this by being proactive in your oral care habits.
Keeping Your Gums Healthy
- Swap to an electric toothbrush, as they are better at removing dental plaque.
- Brush after every meal and snack- not just the recommended twice daily!
- Brush your tongue, too. Giving the tongue a gentle scrub removes bacteria and promotes fresh breath!
- Replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months.
- Floss daily! Ideally, you should floss twice a day. Many flossing choices are available, so look for one until you find the perfect product.
- Talk to one of our dental team members about therapeutic mouthwash. This product is excellent for gum disease prevention and plaque reduction.
- Use baking soda when brushing. Research has found that baking soda can remove plaque and prevent tooth decay. Be sure you are brushing with a soft bristle brush, and don’t use heavy pressure as you brush!
- Oil Pulling- Several oils work for this, but coconut oil is the most common. Studies show oil pulling reduces gum disease by 50%. Oil pulling is done by warming up a teaspoon of oil and swishing it around your mouth for 10 minutes. Then, spit out the oil.
- Eat healthy foods known for promoting gum health.
Foods that Promote Healthy Gums
- Berries and leafy greens- High in antioxidants and vitamin C, which helps reduce inflammation.
- Citrus fruits- High in vitamin C; however, the citric acid can also damage enamel, so eat these in moderation.
Garlic and onions- Contain vitamin C and antibacterial properties that boost gum health.
- Almonds – Rich in calcium and vitamin E, which helps strengthen teeth and gums.
- Salmon- because it’s high in omega-3 fatty acids, it helps reduce inflammation. It is also high in vitamins, which promotes calcium absorption, benefiting teeth and gums.
- Water -Getting plenty of water keeps the mouth from drying out, so bacteria doesn’t form as quickly.
- Yogurt- A source of probiotics that help reduce harmful bacteria in the mouth. Also, a great source of calcium.
Having healthy teeth and gums starts with you. Be proactive in your oral care and talk to one of our team members should you have questions or concerns. At Boiling Springs Family Dental, we are happy to help ensure your gums and teeth make you smile.