What Exactly is Gum Disease?
Gum disease or Gingivitis is a condition wherein the gums become red and swollen with the tendency to bleed easily during or after brushing.
The condition occurs when deep pockets form between the gum and the teeth, causing bacteria to accumulate in between.
When this happens, the gums become infected, leading to tissue decay. The problem here is that when the tooth no longer has any tissue to hold on to, the teeth are eventually pulled out and become permanently lost.
Gum Disease and Periodontitis
Both gingivitis and periodontitis are often referred to as gum disease, but the two are actually different. Essentially, gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums, usually caused by a bacterial infection. If left untreated, it can become a more serious infection known as periodontitis.
This is when the pockets start to form, causing sensitivity and a tendency to bleed after brushing or even after flossing.
Periodontitis is an advanced stage wherein the inflammation leads to gum disease. Note though that gingivitis does not always lead to periodontitis, but it is important to be vigilant once you notice any signs any symptoms of gum inflammation.
Gum Disease Causes
There are several possible reasons as to why gum disease sets in. A bad oral hygiene is the primary cause of the condition since it allows the tartar to build up and cause damage.
When this is ignored over a long period of time, this can cause irreversible damage. Your risks of gum disease would usually increase with the following situations:
- Hormonal Imbalance: pregnancy, menstruation, and menopause are all instances when hormone production becomes imbalanced. During this time, the gums become more sensitive and therefore more prone to the spread of bacteria.
- Poor Nutrition: Often overlooked, a poor diet is crucial to good gum health. A diet that lacks important nutrients can lower the body’s immune system, making it hard for the body to fight off infection. Remember, periodontal disease begins with an infection and a poor diet can make gum condition worse. Research has also shown that obesity may increase the risk of periodontal disease.
- Smoking: Smoking compromises oral health by making it harder for the gums to recover and undergo self-repair. Even worse, nicotine actually causes more tartar buildup which only speeds up the spread of bacteria and the growth of plaque.
- Immune System Issues: Any health problem that compromises the immune system makes it harder for the body to undergo repair. This involves practically all health issues, and gum disease is not an exemption. Health conditions known to compromise the immune system include HIV, AIDS, and cancer. Diabetes may also increase the chances of gum disease.
- Medications: Some medications may also increase the risk of the said condition, especially if their side effects involve dry mouth syndrome. Saliva is wonderfully helpful in maintaining oral health since it hinders the growth of bacteria. With a dry mouth however, bacteria start to spread faster on the gums.
What Are the Main Symptoms of Gum Disease?
Gum disease comes with several symptoms and most of them can be easily noted by just looking at the mirror. Following are some of the signs you should look for when checking if you have one:
- Formation of reddish pockets between the teeth and the gums
- The gums bleed easily during brushing or even when flossing.
- Receding gums
- The teeth start to shift, causing changes in their position. This becomes evident through gaps or when dentures no longer fit properly.
- Funny taste in the mouth or constant bad breath even after brushing.
- Tender gums that is also red and swollen.
- The teeth become more sensitive to hot or cold temperatures.
Of course, your dentist can give you a better idea of how bad your gum disease is at this point.
This is why a routine checkup will allow you to quickly discover the problem so you can apply methods to reverse the damage.
How to Cure Gum Disease Without a Dentist (Treating Gum Disease from Home)
The good news is that there are less inexpensive ways to treat gum disease at home, allowing you to avoid surgery and coax your body into rejuvenating the lost bone and tissue.
This works for even for advanced stages of gum disease. As long as you still have your teeth, you will see remarkable results.
- Having the Right Toothbrush
Having the right kind of toothbrush is the first step towards healthy gums. Today, you will find that there are two types of toothbrushes: electrical ones and the manual type.
Regardless of which type you prefer, it’s important to choose a model that helps keep you motivated with cleaning your teeth.
- Properly Brushing Your Teeth
From an early age, we have all been taught the importance of oral care and tooth brushing.
However, few people realize that they might not be doing this simple task correctly. The fact is that not all brushing techniques are the same.
Studies have shown that some ‘movements’ are better than others as they help remove larger amounts of plaque from the surface of the teeth.
Here is how you can improve your wrist work with the toothbrush: Studies show that smooth, rounded strokes would be the best way to go.
By making small circles on your teeth surface with the toothbrush, you’ll be able to remove more plaques and flush them out of your mouth with water.
- Oral Irrigators
The great thing about using an oral irrigator is that you can control the water pressure which is a must if you have sore gums.
You can set the water pressure to mild so that it wouldn’t cause much pain and bleeding– especially since people with gum disease typically have sensitive gums.
It also manages to reach the deeper pockets in between the gums, managing to flush out the bacteria that brushing couldn’t easily fix.
To use an oral irrigator, simply point the tip of the device in between the teeth, near the gum line. This will direct the water directly inside and flushes out any bacteria, dirt, and debris outside.
The process takes only a very short time to finish and doesn’t require much work on your part beyond holding the Waterpik in place.
The good thing about flossing is that it doesn’t require you to have any other special equipment other than the floss itself.
Although there are currently products specially created to make flossing easier, all you need is a simple box dental floss.
Flossing will help scrape off plaque adhered to the teeth. It works well with tough cases – like kernels of corn stuck in between the teeth where an oral irrigator may not help.
- The Right Toothpaste
Stop brushing your teeth with toxic toothpaste. Most commercial toothpastes contain toxic ingredients like aspartame, sodium lauryl sulfate sorbitol, and glycerin.
Toothpaste manufacturers know the ingredients are toxic, otherwise why would they warn you right on the label that it’s not safe to swallow.
Glycerin can de-mineralize your teeth. Sodium lauryl sulfate is widely recognized as a carcinogen.
- Stress Reduction
Studies show that stress can also negatively affect gum health. A study was conducted involving two groups: one exposed to high levels of stress and the other kept as a control.
With both groups getting professional teeth cleaning prior to the experiment, the study concluded with the stressed group experiencing more signs of gum disease as well as the emergence of cavities.
This can be attributed to the idea that stress somehow weakens the immune system, therefore making it easier for bacteria to invade the mouth and spread in the teeth and gums.
If you’re constantly stressed about your job or personal life, it’s best to practice weekly or even daily anti-stress rituals such as exercise, drinking tea, yoga, and others.
- Salt Rinses
Salt rinses are a natural way of cleaning the teeth. As the name suggests, this involves rinsing your mouth with warm water mixed with salt early in the morning.
This is actually perfect if you have gum flare ups with the pockets between the gums becoming very red. A natural form of antiseptic, the salt in the water can help speed up the process of tissue healing.
- Hydrogen Peroxide Rinse
Hydrogen is another natural technique that’s been proven to help in maintaining gum tissue even as it whitens the teeth through prolonged use.
However, it’s important to note that the pure form of hydrogen peroxide does more harm than good.
In fact, the main reason why dentists discourage the use of hydrogen peroxide rinse is due to the possible mistakes in the dilution process.
- Stop Smoking and Reduce Drinking
To reverse your gum disease, you must stop smoking. Studies have found that tobacco use may be one of the biggest risk factors in the development of gum disease.
For optimum results, quit smoking COMPLETELY. As for drinking, limiting your consumption would be good.
Studies show that small amounts of alcohol during the day can actually be helpful to your health, but too much would be disastrous for the body’s overall capacity to fight bacteria – including gum disease.
- Tea Bag Application
Placing tea bags on the affected gums can also help reduce inflammation as well as reduce the emergence of bacteria.
To make this happen, just prepare a good strong cup of tea and gently apply the still soggy tea bag on the affected gums.
Leave it there for around five minutes. You can do this several times over the different gum parts affected.
Of course, you can also drink tea to help with gum disease but you’ll find that this can cause staining on your teeth so it’s best to limit those drinks and stick to the tea bags.