February is Gum Disease Awareness Month. As you may recall it is also Heart Health Month. Did you know that gum disease is thought to cause heart disease? Just another reason to please keep good oral health care and pay attention to any changes in your teeth and gums.
Periodontal disease is known to most people as gum disease, is a silent, painless bacterial infection that is often completely undetected or ignored until severe gum and bone destruction takes over. As many as 85% of American adults suffer from moderate to severe forms of gum disease—and most don’t even know it. Those who do are often afraid to undergo traditional gum surgery and routinely opt out, choosing to suffer rather than endure treatment. But with recent research demonstrating a link to numerous health conditions including heart disease, stroke, and even certain cancers, gum disease has become an even more critical public education topic that cannot be ignored.
I am someone who goes to the dentist faithfully twice a year. When I started with my new dentist about 8 years ago, the hygienist asked me if I flossed my teeth and I said no. Well she gave me lessons and I now floss regularly and I have been reaping the benefits of flossing by having less and less plaque build up between my teeth. Which of course means decrease chance of gum disease. I hope these tips will help you and your family to keep all your teeth and prevent gum disease.
1. Brush your teeth – American Dental Association recommends twice a day and don’t forget to brush your tongue it can hold bacteria as well.
2. Floss – Floss can get in those tight spaces that your toothbrush can’t get to. I would recommend you floss before you brush your teeth. (like sweeping before your mop)
3. Mouthwash – It is another defense to reduce plaque and wash away any food that is still in the mouth. Leftover food encourages bacteria and plaque growth.
4. Stop Smoking – Smoking significantly increases your risk for developing gum disease. To make matters worse, it also decreases the chances for successful treatment of the condition.
5. See your dentist regularly – There is no substitute for routine visits for professional cleanings with your dentist. The tools they use get rid of tartar that is impossible to remove with at home care. Routine visits allow your dentist to stay on top of your oral health by diagnosing and addressing problems such as gum disease early on before they develop into more serious dental issues.
Now these other 5, are some home remedies to help your family have good oral health.
6. Eat Chicken – Eating more chicken as well as other meats, cheeses, nuts and milk does a body good. All are believed to provide your teeth with calcium and phosphorous needed to remineralize enamel after it’s been bombarded by the acids that cause tooth decay.
7. Eat Veggies – You can never eat too many veggies. Our waistlines and our teeth love them for their water content as well as their vitamin and mineral profiles. You don’t have to eat them raw or steamed, you can make them into soups or smoothies and your teeth will still reap the benefits.
8. Hydrogen Peroxide – Can help to kill bacteria residing in the mouth. Swish hydrogen peroxide in your mouth. It’s not safe to swallow, so swish with care.
9. Chew Gum – Keep that saliva flow going after a meal with sugar-free gum that contains Xylitol — a natural sweetener derived from plants. It doesn’t break down like sugar and can help keep a neutral pH level in the mouth. Both can help you avoid cavities.
10. Get Braces – Getting braces can actually help protect you from gum disease. Crooked teeth are great enablers of tooth decay, which can lead to gum disease by allowing bacteria and plaque to colonize in the areas where your teeth are not aligned. Getting your teeth aligned eliminates these hideouts where your toothbrush cannot reach and straightens your smile at the same time.
Please get your children in the habit of brushing their teeth as well as flossing. I am sure we all will admit that if we started earlier, these things would have been old habits instead of new habits. I hope that these tips will help you and your family maintain good oral health as well as heart health.
BMWK, How often do you visit the dentist?