According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over half of Americans over the age of 30 have some form of periodontal disease. That’s over 64 million Americans who are at risk of tooth loss because of poor gum health. Not only does that put their ability to eat and speak at risk, but also their overall health.
Gum disease has consistently been tied to other serious health problems, such as heart disease and stroke. To stop gum disease in its tracks, consider these tips from your dentist before it’s too late!
Add Mouthwash to Your Oral Care Routine
Specifically, include an anti-microbial mouthwash. Some mouthwashes are alcohol-based, which is great for killing bacteria that causes bad breath. However, they also tend to easily dry out the mouth, which ironically also contributes to decay. Later, we’ll be discussing how to keep saliva production high, which is essential to washing away bacteria and protecting your teeth.
Upgrade Your Toothbrush!
If you’ve been using a manual toothbrush for years, you’ll find brushing much easier if you switch to an electric brush. While a manual toothbrush is sufficient for oral hygiene, toothbrushes equipped with rotating heads or sonic technology are designed to break dental plaque apart more easily.
Keep in mind that brushing your teeth aggressively does not remove more plaque. In fact, it’s far worse for your teeth and causes your gums to recede, the opposite of what you want when fighting gum disease. An electric toothbrush will encourage you to use less force when brushing.
Add These Foods to Your Diet
To improve your gum health, consider adding these foods to your diet:
- Dark leafy greens
- Bell peppers
- Chicken, beef, and tofu
- Dairy (i.e. milk and cheese)
- Green Tea
Proteins like chicken, beef, and tofu all contain phosphorus, an element necessary for maintaining the strength of your teeth. Milk and cheese contain calcium and vitamin D, which both promote strong bones and tooth enamel.
Dark green vegetables, bell peppers, and green tea all contain vitamin C and antioxidants. These work to reduce inflammation in the body and promote good gum health. Onions contain microbial properties that neutralize oral bacteria that cause gum disease and cavities.
Make Chewing Gum a Habit
Keeping the mouth moist is important to protecting your gum health. After a meal, chew a sugar-free gum that contains Xylitol for at least 30 minutes. This helps your mouth keep a neutral pH balance and saliva production high.
Quit Smoking Once and For All
Unlike chewing gum, smoking or using tobacco products dries out the mouth and dramatically increases your chances of getting gum disease and oral cancer. If you have trouble quitting on your own, ask your dentist for advice on the best steps to quit.
By adding these tips to your daily routine, you’ll never have to worry about gum disease. Just make sure you schedule visits with your dentist every six months as well!
About the Author
Dr. Nicholas Brong earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the University of California in San Francisco. Afterwards, he continued his education in implant dentistry and laser dentistry. To learn more tips to prevent gum disease or about his practice, contact him at (507) 288-1066 or visit his website.