So we all know there is no cure for much of anything. But if you catch Gum Disease, Gingivitis & Periodontal Disease early it can usually be completely reversed.
Here are the top tips on fixing it and helping to eliminate bad breath:
- Brush after each meal & before bedtime. Use a soft bristle brush & replace your toothbrush every three months.
- Use a gentle toothpaste.
- Floss your teeth at least twice a day
- Use a water flosser or Waterpik
- Chew gum. After you eat, pop in a piece of sugar-free gum sweetened with xylitol. Xylitol kills the bacteria that cause cavities, and gum in general makes more saliva in your mouth, which helps to bring down acid levels. Chew gum for about 20 minutes after you eat.If you can’t do that swish some water around your mouth.
- Use mouthwash after each meal; esp if you can’t brush. (Keep a travel bottle in your car or purse) Make sure to rinse your mouth out with water before using as some toothpastes can interact with mouthwash; also known as mouth-rinse. Most over the counter versions last about 3 – 5 hours before you need to use it again.
- See your dentist at least EVERY 6 months. If you are lazy about brushing; you might need to see your dentist for a cleaning every three to four months.
- Vitamin C can help bleeding gums, according to a study at the USDA Western Nutrition Research Center in San Francisco. The National Institute of Health recommends a daily dose of 100 to 200mg
- A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition examined data from 6,700 people. Those with the highest levels of vitamin D were 20% less likely to show signs of gingivitis.
- Getting at least 800 milligrams of calcium a day can reduce your chances of developing severe gum disease, according to a study from the State University of New York at Buffalo.
Make sure any products you use earns the ADA Seal of Acceptance. They earn it by providing scientific evidence that demonstrates the safety and efficacy of its product, which the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs carefully evaluates according to objective requirements.
More than 75 percent of Americans over 35 have some form of gum disease.
Signs you may have Gum Disease, Gingivitis & Periodontal Disease:
- Gums that bleed during and after tooth-brushing
- Red, swollen or tender gums
- Persistent bad breath or bad taste in the mouth
- Receding gums
- Formation of deep pockets between teeth and gums
- Loose or shifting teeth
- Changes in the way teeth fit together on biting, or in the fit of partial dentures
Why do gums recede?
- Gum diseases
- Vigorous brushing and flossing
- Hard toothbrush
- Inadequate daily oral hygiene
- Improper dental care
- Teeth grinding
- Crooked or misaligned teeth
- Badly fitted crowns, dentures or bridgework
- Consumption of tobacco products
- Piercing of lip or tongue
Your dentist will check your gums for bleeding, swelling and firmness. They will check to make sure your teeth don’t move or have any sensitivity. They will check your site and order full x rays to look for the breakdown of bone around your teeth.
You might hear them call out a bunch of numbers while there poking your gums. That’s called dental charting. They are measuring how far a probe can go into your gums. The bigger the numbers the worse off you are. Health gums the numbers will be under 3. Gums should be nice and pink with no bleeding. 3 to 5 mm is beginning stages of disease and bone loss might be occurring. Anything over 5 is serious and needs to be fixed ASAP.
Gum disease is serious. According to the American Dental Association, advanced gum disease can lead to a loss of gum tissue and bone. It may also be linked to serious health conditions like diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Gingivitis is the term used for the inflammation of gums. At this stage you will show signs of inflammation without gum recession or bone loss. Chronic gingivitis can be seen in most of the population and it is characterized by tender, swollen, red gums that bleed easily and may be responsible for bad breath. If not treated, it can advance to periodontitis and lead to further complications.
The primary cause of gum disease is poor oral hygiene, resulting in plaque buildup along and under the gum line. Plaque builds up when bacteria attach to the tooth and gum margins.
Disease-causing bacteria tend to appear in oral biofilms not disturbed on a regular basis by oral hygiene procedures like brushing and flossing. As gum disease sets in, the disease-causing bacteria move into defects known as periodontal pockets around the teeth from which they are increasingly difficult to remove. There are currently over six hundred species of bacteria known to exist in the mouth alone, with only about four hundred currently identified. Disease-causing bacteria may only account for a small proportion of the total bacterial population in the mouth, but their effects if uncontrolled can be devastating.
Periodontal disease refers to any disease (actually several) that affect the areas around the teeth (from the Latin “peri” – around and Greek “odont” – tooth).
While a regular dental cleaning is for the visible portion of teeth, scaling and root planing is a special cleaning that removes plaque and tartar (also known as calculus) from under the gumline (in periodontal pockets) and smoothes the root surfaces to promote healing. A scaling procedure is the only way to remove calculus from this area.
Mouthwashes / Mouth Rinses
Choosing A Mouthwash:
What’s the best mouthwash to use to help create a nice clean mouth?
There are two types of mouthwash: cosmetic and therapeutic. Cosmetic mouthwash temporarily control bad breath, but have no long term application beyond their temporary benefit. For example, if a product doesn’t kill bacteria associated with bad breath, then its benefit is considered to be solely cosmetic. Therapeutic mouthwash, by contrast, has active ingredients intended to help control or reduce conditions like bad breath, gingivitis, plaque, and tooth decay.
Active ingredients that may be used in therapeutic mouthwash include:
- cetylpyridinium chloride
- essential oils
Cetylpyridinium chloride may be added to reduce bad breath. Both chlorhexidine and essential oils can be used to help control plaque and gingivitis. Fluoride is a proven agent in helping to prevent decay. Peroxide is present in several whitening mouthwashes. Therapeutic mouthwash is available both over-the-counter and by prescription, depending on the formulation. For example, mouthwashes containing essential oils are available in stores, while those containing chlorhexidine are available only by prescription.
Mouthwashes with therapeutic agents like antimicrobials, however, may be effective for more long-term control of bad breath. Antimicrobials in mouthwash formulations include chlorhexidine, chlorine dioxide, cetylpyridinium chloride, and essential oils (e.g., eucalyptol, menthol, thymol, and methyl salicylate). Other agents used in mouthwashes to inhibit odor-causing compounds include zinc salts, ketone, terpene, and ionone. Although the combination of chlorhexidine and cetylpyridinium chloride plus zinc lactate has been shown to significantly reduce bad breath, it also may significantly contribute to tooth staining.
When used in mouthwashes, antimicrobial ingredients like cetylpyridinium, chlorhexidine, and essential oils have been shown to reduce plaque and gingivitis when combined with daily brushing and flossing. While some studies have found that chlorhexidine achieved better plaque control than essential oils, no difference was observed with respect to gingivitis control. Cetylpyridinium and chlorhexidine may cause brown staining of teeth, tongue, and/or restorations.
So far chlorhexidine gluconate mouthwash is the most effective anti-plaque and anti-gingivitis to date. The ability of the oral tissues to absorb chlorhexidine gluconate allows it to be slowly released in active form over 12 to 24 hours.
Some studies show an alcohol based (ethanol) mouthwash could potentially cause oral cancer. It works by killing germs and bacteria in your mouth. It also burns when you use it and will dry out your mouth a bit.
Children younger than the age of 6 should not use mouthwash, unless directed by a dentist, because they may swallow large amounts of the liquid inadvertently.
Here’s a highly rated Waterpik water flosser: