Healthy Gums For Healthy Teeth?
Healthy gums are essential to have healthy teeth. Keeping up with those two means that you literally can’t have one without the other, but gums are often neglected in normal dental hygiene routines. Neglecting your gums can lead to all sorts of health problems that go from irritation of the gums leading to bleeding, damage to supporting bone and fibres, loosening teeth to even losing teeth completely in cases of advanced periodontitis. All of that just for doing something as simple as not taking good care of your gums. Keeping them healthy isn’t difficult at all, but it does take a bit of effort on your part with some extra time and attention required. There are a few simple things you can do to make your life easier when it comes to oral health:
Changing Your Diet
You are what you eat says the old proverb, so in order to improve your oral health and help keep your gums to be healthy there are certain foods that you should try and incorporate into your diet, if you don’t already. It’s not just about cutting back on sugary treats and harsh acidic foods, there are certain things that are just good for your gums that you should include on your daily diet.
- Apples. Eating an apple is practical and easy, but it’s not just a healthy snack, it’s also great news for your teeth and gums. The munching and chewing action causes a sort of “cleansing effect” that shakes up the plaque and bacteria that clings to your gums and teeth. Eat more apples, but be sure to brush, floss, and rinse afterward. Even foods like apples can expose your mouth to acids and sugars that can cause problems for your teeth and gums.
- Leafy Greens. Asparagus, broccoli, kale, cabbage, spinach, and turnip greens, also known as leafy greens, are also very helpful when it comes to developing a well-balanced diet that helps prevent gum disease. They are rich in valuable antioxidants and vitamins for your body, including vitamin E and folic acid. The ADHA has pointed out that those who are deficient in folic acid are also in more danger of developing the harmful plaque and bacteria that leads to gum disease (Gingivitis). Vitamin E, similar to vitamin C, helps protect your cells from damage, including your gum’s cells.
- Onions. When people think of onions, they often think of this food as a bad choice when it comes to our oral habits, especially considering that it can leave a foul smell in our breath. However, raw onion is an extremely powerful anti-bacteria food. Onions actually have antimicrobial agents that kill bacteria and, according to studies, completely wipe out up to four bacteria strains that lead to gum disease, including Porphyromonas gingivalis and Prevotella intermedia.
- Milk. Milk and other dairy foods such as cheese and yogurt are not only packed with calcium, but also with the protein casein, which research suggests reduces acid levels in your mouth. Also, drinking milk can neutralize acids produced by plaque bacteria. However, keep in mind that drinking milk with cereal or dessert doesn’t have the same benefit as direct consumption after eating. And if you don’t have any milk or are not a fan of drinking it, you can always eat a piece of cheese instead.
- Ginger Root. A powerful food used for centuries with its many health benefits, ginger root is also a powerful combatant of gum disease. Ginger root helps fight gum disease by neutralizing acids formed by bacteria. As a powerful anti-inflammatory, ginger can also help protect against periodontal diseases that cause the loss of supportive connective tissue and bone in the mouth.
Most people are aware that smoking can be bad for them, but they often wonder just why smoking this affects their teeth and gums. There are several reasons for this that originate primarily from the lack of oxygen to blood cells that smoking causes. Smoking makes it harder for your gums to fight off infections, and contributes to longer healing times after any gum damage. The worst part is that it also leads to more build up of dental plaque, making any gum issues already present much more worse. For healthy gums, try to stop smoking so much, or completely if you can.
Smoking can affect your gums in various ways, take these into consideration:
- Interferes with blood circulation. Smoking affects the normal function of gum tissue, causing infections and restricting blood flow. It also delays healing after oral surgery for dental implants, tooth extraction or treatment of gum disease. This makes the recovery process difficult. When brushing or flossing, smokers may notice that their gums bleed easily.
- Oral Cancer. Tobacco is the most important oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancer risk factors. Mouth cancer is largely a lifestyle disease, meaning that the majority of cases are related to tobacco use. Approximately 90% of people with mouth cancer are tobacco users. Smokers are 6 times more likely than nonsmokers to develop mouth cancer. Users of smokeless tobacco have a 50 times more likely chance of developing mouth cancer. Statistics show only 6% of head and neck cancer recurrence in patients who stop smoking in contrast to 37% of head and neck cancer patients who continue smoking developing a second cancer. People who stop using tobacco, even after many years of use, can greatly reduce their risk of all smoking related illnesses, including mouth cancer. One of the best preventive measures to take is to kick the habit completely.
- Plaque and Tartar. It’s no secret that there are many chemicals in cigarettes that are generally bad for you. However, the chemicals found in tobacco products affect saliva flow in the mouth, making it easier for oral bacteria to stick to teeth and gums. Filmy, bacteria-laden plaque can develop on teeth and along the gum line. If not removed daily, it can harden into tartar, also known as calculus, a substance so hard it requires a professional cleaning to remove.Smokers are three to six times more likely to develop gum disease or periodontal disease, which can attack roots and cause teeth to fall out. Even smokeless tobacco products can irritate gum tissue, causing gums to loosen around teeth, making it easier for bacteria to settle in and develop decay.
- Directly Affects Teeth and Breath. In addition to staining teeth and being bad for overall health, tobacco can add to bad breath. In addition, smoking reduces your ability to taste foods and irritates gum tissues.
Brushing your teeth is crucial, but not enough if you want great gums. You need to floss too in order to get the plaque and food debris that your toothbrush can’t reach, and we would recommend that you floss twice a day for maximum results. Some people find that their gums bleed when they floss – this should resolve itself over a short period of time as your gums become healthier, but if you are concerned you aren’t flossing properly talk to us and we can give you some tips and advice to do this painlessly.
Regular dentist visits for cleaning
For all-round good oral health including getting (and keeping) great gums, you should schedule twice annual visits with your dentist for checkups and cleaning. This will ensure all the tartar is removed from your teeth, and your dentist can monitor your gum health more closely.