Maintaining healthy teeth and gums is just as important to your overall health as exercising and eating vegetables. So, if you develop gum disease (i.e., gingivitis or periodontitis), it's important that you get it cleared up as soon as possible. While there are many treatments your dentist can do in the office, here are three simple things you can do at home to help heal and even reverse gum disease.
Eat More Vitamin C
According to a study published in the Clinical and Diagnostic Laboratory Immunology journal, the development of periodontitis disease is linked to low levels of vitamin C in the body. Researchers in the study looked at 431 men—247 from Russia and 194 from Finland—and found that the men from Finland had higher levels of vitamin C in their bodies. Further testing showed that the Finnish men also had lower levels of gingivitis bacteria in their mouths.
It is unknown exactly how vitamin C helps stave off periodontal disease, but the substance has a number of health benefits. It is well known that vitamin C provides support to the immune system, which improves the way your body fights off foreign invaders like bacteria. Vitamin C is also necessary for growth and repair of connective tissues—tissues that help gums stick close to the teeth to keep bacteria from accessing the roots of teeth.
Vitamin C can be found in a wide variety of foods, including citrus fruits, strawberries, broccoli, bell peppers, melons, and dark leafy greens. It's also available in over-the-counter supplements. The bad news is that vitamin C is water soluble, meaning it gets flushed out of the body every day, so you must constantly replenish it on a daily basis.
Use Interdental Brushes
Brushing daily is a must, because it helps get rid of the plaque left behind by bacterial activity. However, one of the weaknesses of brushing is that the bristles can't get between the teeth, leaving those areas vulnerable to damage. While you can scrape off the plaque between the teeth using floss, a better tool to use is an interdental brush.
Interdental brushes look similar to pipe cleaners. They feature short, thin, but soft bristles that can easily slide into the tight spaces between the teeth. When comparing interdental brushes with flossing, researchers found using the brushes extracted more plaque and reduced the incidence of bleeding gums. Additionally, the study showed people preferred to use interdental brushes because they were easier to handle, which increased the likelihood patients would use them.
Just like flossing, you should clean between your teeth at least twice per day using these brushes. If you want to give your interdental cleaning a boost, add a drop of tea tree oil to the bristles before using it. This oil has anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties that can be helpful at keeping the bacteria that causes gum disease away. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that may help alleviate already inflamed gums.
Drink More Water
A third easy thing you can do to prevent or treat gum disease is to drink more water, particularly if you consume caffeine or frequently experience dry mouth. Saliva production is critical to your oral health, because it helps eliminate much of the bacteria found in the mouth. If you don't produce enough saliva, the bacteria will proliferate and damage your teeth and gums.
There are many reasons why you might stop producing adequate amounts of saliva, including being dehydrated and mechanical problems with the salivary glands. While any underlying health problem (e.g., diabetes) affecting your saliva production should be addressed with a healthcare provider, you can easily avoid becoming dehydrated by drinking adequate amounts of water per day. This will help keep your mouth moist and assist in flushing food debris and bacteria from your teeth and gums.
For more suggestions on treating gum disease at home, contact a dentist or healthcare provider, or contact companies like Trusted Natural Care.