Natural Periodontal Care 101
Early Signs and Treatments for Gums Disease
Early symptoms of gum disease include gingivitis (a inflammation/swelling of the gums) and tartar and plaque buildup. The swollen gums create a pocket around the tooth that allows bacteria to enter the lower layers of gums and erode support for the tooth. Dentist and dental hygienist use special tools to reach underneath the gums for scaling (also known as root planing) the plaque from the pockets and around the tooth. This process removes the bacteria and the risk of further bone damage. Microscopic evaluation along with X-rays and gum measurements will determine the need and frequency for any further treatment.
Least Invasive Gum Treatment
For patients who have heavy accumulations, one office visit for scaling or planing may not be sufficient to remove plaque, calculus and bacteria buildup. The patient will be required to have additional scaling done over several office visits. Ozone treatments are a great adjunct to the conventional modalities.
Guideline to Prevention
- Brush your teeth after every meal.
- Use a toothbrush that has soft bristles.
- Use toothbrush sterilizers or disinfectants like hydrogen peroxide (3% diluted with water 50-50, soak at least 15 mins).
- Change your toothbrush every three months.
Electric toothbrushes are very popular to remove plaque and bacteria from the mouth. But I would not recommend them for patients with gum recession due to aggressiveness.
The use of water irrigators like Hydrofloss or Water pick with Organic herbal gum irrigator is highly recommended.
Remember to brush teeth more than 30 seconds; three to five minutes is recommended. Always brush the teeth, but also brush at the gum line where plaque first forms.
If you do not floss you are leaving out an important component of the cleaning process. Research finds that less than half of Americans floss. For healthy gums and to help overcome bad breath, it is important to floss on a regular basis. Flossing removes food particles and plaque between teeth that brushing can not easily remove. Therefore, it is important to floss after eating to remove the bacteria and food particles stuck between teeth.
Cigarette smokers are seven times more likely to develop periodontitis than nonsmokers, notes the Cleveland Clinic. Try to quit cold turkey if possible.
Gum Disease? Coenzyme Q10 May Help
Diseased gums have a deficiency of CoQ10. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC), research shows that people who have gum disease also have low levels of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) in their gums. Taking a supplement or using a mouthwash with this nutrient may help your gums to heal faster.
Applying CoQ10 to gums might control periodontitis because when antioxidants scavenge reactive oxygen atoms, it can reduce collagen destruction. Topical CoQ10 reduces the depths of pockets that have developed around the teeth and improve gum attachment to teeth. During a few clinical studies, CoQ10 supplements led to faster healing and tissue repair in patients with periodontal disease.
It is important to routinely use both topical CoQ10 and CoQ10 supplements for patients with periodontal disease. Some natural toothpastes and mouth-rinse products contain CoQ10. To use CoQ10 powder for periodontal disease, add the powder to water and use as a rinse, or mix the powder with your toothpaste.
CoQ10 is generally not associated with side effects aside from an occasional case of upset stomach. The substance does interact with several medications, so consult your doctor before using CoQ10 powder for periodontal disease if you currently take any medicine. In particular, CoQ10 might reduce the effectiveness of anticoagulant medications such as warfarin and clopidigrel.
Nutrition is Key to Positive Oral Health
Good nutrition is an essential component to overall health.
Eating a wide variety of nutritious foods helps the immune system battle gingivitis and prevents it from progressing into periodontitis. Also, foods rich in antioxidants such as fruit and vegetables boost your body’s ability to heal damaged tissues. Vitamins C, E, A, and D are especially important in playing a role in oral health.
Vitamin C plays two important roles in the health of gums. First, vitamin C’s antioxidant power blocks damage caused by oxidation. Additionally, vitamin C helps the body produce healthy collagen. Collagen is connective tissue that is critical for maintaining strong gums. Patients who are vitamin C deficient are at increased risk of gum disease. Additionally, smokers concerned with the health of their gums should especially take vitamin C because smoking depletes vitamin C levels in the body.
Vitamin C-rich foods include bananas, broccoli and green leafy veggies.
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin that fights free radicals and promotes wound healing. Wounds in the gum that become infected act as an underlying cause of gum disease. Therefore, getting enough vitamin E can help treat existing gum disease.
Foods rich in vitamin E include nuts, extra virgin olive oil and breakfast cereal.
Vitamin A is an essential vitamin that is required for optimal immunity. Supplementing with vitamin A or eating vitamin A rich foods can help the body maintain healthy gums, combat bacterial infections and reduce gum oxidation.
Foods abundant in vitamin A include carrots, tomatoes and summer squash.
Vitamin D is commonly known as the “sunshine vitamin” because the skin manufactures this essential vitamin after exposure to sunlight. Not getting enough vitamin D heightens risk of gum disease.
In addition to sunlight, dietary sources of vitamin D include fatty fish, organic eggs, organic poultry and mushrooms.
Avoid coffee and caffeinated drinks and switch to Green Tea
Coffee affects the mouth in two ways. First, it lowers the temperature of your mouth and gums. Second, coffee reduces the blood flow to the gums. The combination of lowered temperature and restricted blood flow means your gums do not get all of the necessary oxygen needed to continue functioning properly. While this will not directly cause gingivitis or periodontitis, it can contribute to declining gum health.
Caffeinated products, especially coffee, will contribute to a lack of hydration in your body and causes less saliva production, increasing the chance of developing gum disease and cavities.
Green tea however can increase periodontal health. A 2009 study published in Journal of Periodontology, confirmed that participants who consumed green tea had less periodontal disease, as well as an increase in overall periodontal health. Drink one to two cups of green tea daily to boost your oral health.