Gum disease includes gingivitis and periodontitis. There is minimal discomfort despite swelling of the gums that bleed easily. A good oral care programme should be followed daily at home in order to protect the health of your gums.
When gingivitis isn’t treated it can advance to periodontal disease, affecting one tooth or many teeth. The toxins produced by the bacteria in plaque cause the gums to become inflamed, which can spread below the gum line. The tissues and bone that support the teeth are broken down and destroyed.
Be on the look-out for the following signs and symptoms:
- Bleeding gums during and after tooth brushing
- Gums are sore, red, swollen and receding
- Take note if people step back when talking to you. They may be too polite to say that you have bad breath
- Bad taste in your mouth
- Deep pockets form between teeth and gums
- Loose teeth and difficulty biting and chewing
- Eventually loss of teeth if not treated
Why it happens?
Factors that can increase your risk of gum disease include:
- Poor oral hygiene
- Genetic tendency
- Smoking cigarettes
- Hormonal changes especially during pregnancy
- Stress and poor diet, both can decrease the immune system’s ability to function properly
- Diet – how many times have you heard ‘sugar will rot your teeth?’ The bacteria associated with periodontal disease thrive in acidic environments (sugar creates an acidic environment)
- Auto immune disorders can interfere with your ability to fight infection
- Clenching and grinding teeth (bruxism) – adds extra stress on your gums
Conditions that cause dryness of the mouth – ‘xerostomia.’ Saliva is important for normal lubrication during chewing and talking plus, it helps to protect your teeth from decay.
What natural therapies can help?
Zinc and vitamin A and vitamin C are important for proper functioning of the immune system.
Bioflavonoids – deficiency is linked to lowered immunity. In fact, soft, spongy gums or a tendency for the gums to bleed when brushing may indicate a deficiency of vitamin C and or bioflavonoids.
B group vitamins help our body to handle stress. Stress can affect the immune system and cause recurrent infections.
Coenzyme Q10 – in addition to its more famous role in the treatment of cardiovascular conditions, coenzyme Q10 may help improve symptoms of periodontitis.
The antimicrobial action of tea tree oil helps fight gingivitis and other gum infections. Don’t use 100 per cent tea tree oil though – try tea tree toothpaste available at Go Vita.
Goldenseal, propolis, myrrh, thyme – are antimicrobial and useful as a mouthwash. Add calendula to reduce inflammation.
Did you know?
- Brush and floss your teeth twice a day. Brushing gets rid of plaque from the surfaces of the teeth and flossing removes plaque from in between the teeth.
- Reduce you intake of processed foods, cakes, chocolate and other sweets.
- Rinse you mouth out with water after eating.