Gum disease — an inflammatory condition of the gums and supporting bone structure — may be hereditary, but it’s also preventable. Lifestyle, diet, and dental care play a critical role in the severity and treatment outcomes for this condition. Are you concerned about gum disease? The good news is your fate is in your hands — the ball’s in your court, so to speak. Here are 5 things you can do for healthier gums.
Flossing regularly is important for oral health — but it’s super critical to preventing and treating gum disease. It removes plaque and food in between your teeth and in the pockets of your gums — places a brush won’t reach. This is super helpful in preventing gum disease as well as treating existing gum disease. Your gums may bleed at first — especially if you already have gum disease — but regular flossing will minimize additional plaque and prevent your gums from further eroding.
Brush for 2 Minutes 2x per Day
Like flossing, regular brushing is central to oral health and can help prevent gum disease from starting or getting worse. Brushing removes food and plaque trapped in the teeth and below the gum line. Brush gently — but thoroughly — using a soft toothbrush. Brush the teeth as well as the gums directly in a gentle massaging motion.
Rinse with Mouthwash
Many people think mouthwash is only for bad breath — but the truth is it can have a big impact on oral health, especially on periodontal disease. As a liquid, mouthwash can reach areas that flossing and brushing can’t. It can also remove food and debris.
Any over the counter mouthwash will do. You can also rinse with a salt water solution 3 to 4 times a week. (Rinsing with salt water too often can be hard on your enamel, but a few times each week goes a long way to kill germs).
There are a number of other natural mouthwash alternatives available that don’t contain alcohol or fluoride. These include mouth rinses that contain aloe vera, lemon grass, tea tree oil. You can purchase them online or make your own.
If you have serious gingivitis, your Cincinnati dentist might prescribe a stronger mouthwash that can better treat the gums and exposed tooth areas.
If you smoke, one of the best things you can do to alleviate existing gum disease is to quit. Half of all cases of periodontal disease directly result from smoking. Chronic smoking can lead to tooth loss as a result of gum disease.
The good news is that researchers have noticed significant improvement in gum disease just one year after a patient has quit smoking.
Need help quitting? Here are some great resources:
A healthy diet is key to healthy gums. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Onions are great because they neutralize bacteria. Leafy greens provide plenty of vitamin C, which boosts the production of red blood cells and reduces inflammation in the gums. Green tea is an excellent antioxidant.
Celery, carrots and apples are great for scraping away stuck on food and plaque. These kinds of foods are actually good to get stuck in between your teeth because they usually carry away other bits of food when dislodged.
Milk, yogurt, and cheese are great for your gums because they contain a protein called casein that helps to neutralize oral acids that are produced by bacteria in the mouth.