Imagine this scenario: you brush your teeth, same as you do faithfully after every meal, as you were taught years ago. To your absolute horror, you notice the brush has turned bright red and your mouth is dripping blood. No, this isn’t from some grisly slasher-movie, it’s what many people experience despite their brushing routine.
Everyone hates going to the dentist, but few people do a lot to avoid it. Oh, sure, the trip every six months is to be expected, and should be done religiously to maintain healthy teeth–but now and then other appointments are necessary when bleeding, pain or injury occurs. Much can be done to prevent such occurrences. More than the teeth are at stake in dental care: the gums’ health is also a matter of importance. Gingivitis (aka periodontal disease or pyorrhea) is something to avoid at all cost.
Aside from brushing and flossing the teeth, the gums are also in need of constant attention. Be vigilant regarding their condition–gum disease sneaks up on you. The redness, a sign of inflammation, isn’t so noticeable at first. Eventually, though, there will be bleeding and tiny pockets of infection forming at the gumline. The gums will begin to recede, exposing more tooth surface, making them more vulnerable to decay. Canker sores, too, can develop. Eventually there will be bone loss due to infection, and the teeth will begin falling out. In short, neglecting your gums will seem to be no big deal to begin with, but will lead to regrets after a while.
Considering the fact that few health care insurers include dental care in their plans, many Americans today are unable to deal with dental issues, period. When you’re faced with such expenses, whether for basic care, which would cover the types of preventive measures as are needed for periodontal health, or more expensive orthodontic work such as braces, it’s highly unlikely you will find it affordable on a low (or no) income. Taking care of such matters at home, therefore, is of even greater importance to avoid having the heartbreak of tooth loss later on and no means to handle it.
There are more serious concerns than the loss of teeth: heart and lung disease, due to the spread of infection throughout the body starting from the mouth, can even lead to death. If you already have cardiac or respiratory problems of any kind, let your dentist know immediately in order to plan how to deal with the situation safely.
Diabetics, smokers, and those with compromised immune systems are all more liable to develop periodontal trouble than others. Nonetheless, they aren’t the only ones: estimates are that anywhere from a quarter to half of all Americans suffer from this disease. In all situations, the underlying causes need to be addressed first in order to properly deal with the problem.
For gingivitis in general, clinical nutritional methods can help. Correcting dietary deficiencies, such as insufficient Vitamins C, A, D and E, and other nutrients like selenium (in small amounts), zinc, calcium, magnesium, and CoQ10, can also be effective.
Prevention, of course, is by far the best and easiest method of dealing with gum disease. Avoidance or removal of plaque building up in the mouth (especially between teeth) by means of flossing and regular brushing is the first tactic one should use. Gentle stimulation of the gums, by a rubber tip on the end of your toothbrush, improves circulation, thereby transporting oxygen and nutrients in the blood to the area. Rinsing the mouth daily with a mild salt water or baking soda solution also helps by keeping the mouth from drying out as well as helping stop plaque from forming. Dry mouth is an especially crucial situation to avoid, as this condition is conducive to gingivitis’ development. Use of a variety of pharmaceutical medications will often cause this problem–another reason to use herbal meds!
When you think about it, maintaining healthy gums may take a little more effort on the average person’s part, but it’s certainly worth it. Adding a bit more to your daily routine of brushing, like flossing, rinsing the mouth, and keeping up a healthy diet, involves far less trouble than dealing with the results of neglect.