To avoid gum disease, a solid oral care regime is imperative - brush twice a day, floss at night, and use mouthwash. This is the familiar refrain, so let's step away from that simple 3-step plan and look at other ways to prevent gum disease.
Gingivitis and its advanced cousin, Periodontal disease, are silent offenders. Most often, you may not even know you should be concerned. After all, the serious problems take place beneath your gum line where you can't see them.
What's worse is that a growing number of scientists believe that plaque and gum disease can also influence and exacerbate conditions like heart disease and stroke - certainly conditions we do not want to encourage by a lack of attention to good oral hygiene.
So with no further ado, here are seven easy things you can do to help protect your mouth from gum disease.
1. Eat More Chicken! This is more than just a prominent fast food slogan. Consuming 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.
2. Eat more Veggies! Everyone knows we need more vegetables in our diets. Our waistlines and our teeth love them for their water content, as well as their vitamin and mineral profiles. There's no doubt about it, veggies are good for you.
Not a big fan? Incorporate them into soups, or in a great fruit smoothie … you won't notice the difference, but your teeth and gums will.
3. Use an anti-microbial mouthwash: The key here is using a mouthwash that is anti-microbial. Find one you'll actually use every day, and use it once in the morning after brushing, and again after brushing before bed.
Try to find one that’s low in alcohol or without it altogether, as alcohol dries out your mouth and can contribute to tooth decay. More saliva equals better oral health.
4. Try a toothbrush that moves: Get adventurous and test out an electronic toothbrush that’s been endorsed by the American Dental Association (ADA).
These toothbrushes are more effective than you'll ever be at removing plaque and bacteria, and will protect your gums from aggressive brushing.
5. 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.
If you want to avoid Aspartame in your Xylitol chewing gum, search online or ask your dentist. It’s difficult to find gum without Aspartame these days, but such a product does exist.
6. Get Braces! That's right, getting braces can 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, all while straightening your smile at the same time.
7. Quit Smoking! This one is always worth mentioning. Smoking is always bad for your body, your gums, and your teeth.