Do Home Remedies for Gum Disease Really Work?
Gum disease is a leading concern of most dental professionals. It can lead to tooth decay and, eventually, tooth loss. Gum disease has two levels. The first, known as gingivitis, is easily remedied and causes gums to become inflamed and swollen.
Periodontitis occurs when gingivitis goes untreated and is the result of inflammation causing the gum and bone to pull away from the teeth to form pockets in which debris and bacteria can collect. Many people may wonder what can be done at home to treat and prevent gum disease.
Home Care Practices to Prevent Gum Disease
Diet contributes to every factor of your overall health, and your oral health is no exception. Preventing and controlling gum disease is directly correlated to your dietary habits.
Your diet should include foods high in:
- vitamins, such as vitamin C
- healthy fats
All of these help to reduce inflammation and control gingivitis. Foods such as vegetables and vegetable juice, raw fruit, and wild-caught salmon are all beneficial to your oral health.
While there are foods that aid in the maintenance of your smile, there are also many that can be detrimental.
Your diet should limit or avoid foods such as:
- sugary foods (such as soda pop)
- fruit juices
- processed foods
- hydrogenated oils
Proper Brushing and Flossing
So much of your at-home oral care comes from proper brushing and flossing. This simple routine can make all the difference between a healthy mouth and one that will be in need of substantial dental work. Everyone, regardless of age or dental history, should brush their teeth at least twice a day—although brushing after every meal and after consuming sugary foods and drinks is even better—for one to two minutes at a time.
Dr. Fiss recommends that you practice good brushing technique to further aid your at-home care. The best technique is brushing at a 45-degree angle and using a brush that has either soft or extra soft bristles.
Flossing is another part of your dental routine that shouldn’t be overlooked. Flossing can reach areas that brushing cannot and help prolong the health and aesthetic of your teeth. Dr. Fiss recommends flossing your teeth both after breakfast and before bed; however, if you choose one of these, then before bed will provide more substantial benefit as it helps reduce decay and gum disease.
Natural remedies such as oil pulling have gained popularity in the recent years as a way to aid your oral health. This practice aims to eliminate bacteria by introducing oils with antibacterial properties to fight gingivitis, freshen breath, and contribute to overall oral health. Rubbing your teeth or rinsing with oils such as coconut oil, clove oil, peppermint oil, and tea tree oil are intended to promote healing and reduce inflammation of your gum tissues.
It is important to understand that while these oils may contribute to the care of your teeth, they do not replace the need for routine dental appointments and should not be your first line of defense. Other healthy, at-home practices to prevent gum disease include rinsing with warm salt water and refraining from smoking, as the toxins of smoking damage the gums.
Don’t Forget Your Regular Check Ups
While home remedies and proper oral maintenance can play a big part in maintaining the health and appearance of your teeth, nothing can match the professional care provided by your dentist.
Patients who do not experience gum disease symptoms should schedule appointments twice a year for check ups and routine cleanings. These cleanings allow for the removal of bacteria that causes inflammation and, therefore, gingivitis.
For patients who do show symptoms of gum disease, regular check ups become even more imperative. These patients should see their dentist four times a year for cleanings and treatment of their periodontal disease. Treatments such as laser energy can be used to kill the bacteria in the tissue around the tooth and promote proper tooth healing.
For more information on how you can best manage your dental health, or if you would like to set up a consultation with Dr. Fiss, contact his office at 312-951-5230.