08 Sep 3 Things to Avoid for Healthier Gums
When it comes to gum health, you’ve been told to brush your teeth, floss between them, and regularly check in with your dentist. But there are a lot of things that can negatively affect your gums. September is National Gum Care Month, and we could all use a reminder of the importance of gum care. As Executive Director of the European Research group on Periodontology Professor Maurizio Tonetti said, “You would not ignore bleeding from your eye, so why would you ignore bleeding from your mouth?”
Let’s look at some of the most harmful items and habits for your gums.
Before we get to the things to avoid, let’s look at the dangers associated with gum disease. According to the National Library of Medicine, “Almost half, 47.2%, of all adults aged 30 years and older have some form of gum disease.”
So, what are these threats?
When plaque and tarter are left too long on your teeth, your gums can become inflamed. This is gingivitis. About 30% of Amercian adults suffer from gingivitis. While the disease is common, if left untreated, it can lead to more serious gum disease progression and tooth loss. There are various symptoms that can be indicators of gingivitis, including red and swollen gums, bleeding gums, tooth sensitivity and bad breath.
Chronic Periodontal Disease
A periodontal disease is just another term for gum disease. In early stages, gingivitis may not cause much discomfort. But the advanced form of gingivitis is called Periodontitis. Chronic Periodontal Disease is the most common form of periodontitis, occurring much more commonly in those aged 45 or older. The results of contracting this disease include inflammation below the gum line and the gradual destruction of gingival and bone tissue. Although it might appear that teeth are simply growing longer because of this disease, in reality the gums are being destroyed.
Treatment may include scaling and root planning, antibiotics (Doxycycline, Tetracycline, and Minocycline), antimicrobial mouthwashes, laser periodontal therapy, periodontal surgery, and grafting techniques.
Aggressive Periodontal Disease and Necrotizing Periodontal Disease
Aggressive Periodontal Disease occurs at a much faster rate than Chronic Periodontal Disease. Necrotizing Periodontal Disease is a worse form of the disease that causes tissue death, also called necrosis. It frequently impacts the periodontal ligament, gingival tissues, and alveolar bone. This form of periodontal disease is extremely rare, but very painful and causes foul breath.
Treatment often includes use of antiseptic mouth rinses or antibiotics to control the infection, oral cleaning and removal of plaque by a dentist, improved oral hygiene and regular dental check-ups, and surgery in severe cases.
What to Avoid
So, what dangers should we avoid to have healthier gums?
Along with brushing your teeth and other good aspects of dental hygiene, there are several things that you should avoid to preserve your dental health. If you follow these steps, you will be much closer to a healthy dental lifestyle.
You’ve heard it before, but it’s still true. Drinking too many sports drinks with lots of sugar and having too much candy can directly lead to gum problems. Anytime you consume sugary treats or beverages, make sure you brush your teeth and floss shortly after, as plaque feeds on sugar.
Excessive amounts of sugar will harm your teeth! Be on the lookout when consuming things other than candy or sodas as well. Sure, sugar is in cake, ice cream, cookies, and soda but it is found in a lot of our everyday food and condiments too.
There are so many downsides to smoking! According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Smoking causes cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung diseases, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Smoking also increases risk for tuberculosis, certain eye diseases, and problems of the immune system, including rheumatoid arthritis”.
If you need another reason to quit smoking, this habit also puts you on track for needing extra dental care. Smoking greatly increases your chances of developing a periodontal disease such as gingivitis. If you do not smoke, congratulations! You are already on your way to having healthy gums. But if you do, start taking steps today to cut the butts out of your life.
Smoking is horrible for your systematic health, but specifically for your gum health.
Too much alcohol is also harmful for your teeth. Studies have linked gum disease with the use of alcohol. In fact, the more you drink, the more at risk you are of contracting a form of periodontal disease.
Consider the early settlers of America. Their dental health wasn’t the greatest. This is partly because between the years of 1790 to 1830, America consumed the most hard liquor per capita of any other country. Combined with the settler’s lack of dental hygiene, this lead to very poor oral health and lower life expectancies.
There are many simple things that you can avoid that will greatly improve your dental health, and help you to avoid developing periodontal diseases. But there are also things that you can do to be more proactive as well.
Brushing your teeth regularly and floss. You should also visit your dentist regularly and track your overall health. Good dental hygiene is well rounded with both dos and don’ts.