What to look for
- bleeding gums
- swollen, red gums.
- pain, loose teeth, and bad breath, which suggest periodontitis.
- extremely painful, inflamed gums coated with a gray-white mucus;
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The typical ‘western’ diet which is high in sugars and refined foods has caused gum problems to flourish. However, with the onset of improvement in dental hygiene the problems have been avoided somewhat.
Problems occur when plaque, food particles and bacteria form at the base of the teeth along the gum line. These can cause infections in the gums and swelling creating small pockets around the gums where more food can be trapped and hard to reach by brushing.
Periodontal disease is an infection of the gums and other tissues that support the teeth. If you eat too much sugar, your saliva (which fights the oral bacteria) will not function at its best and this speeds the disease along. Eventually, without treatment, the gums will become very red and more swollen and they loosen their grip on the teeth. Consequently tooth loss is a possibility with this condition.
Before the disease is full blown it goes through a stage known as gingivitis. There is, at this time, painless inflammation, swelling, redness, and possibly bleeding.
Certain vitamin deficiencies, medication, glandular disorders, and blood diseases may make you more susceptible to gingivitis… but in general, poor dental hygiene is the primary cause.
Vincent's angina is caused by a combination of poor diet, stress, and bacteria. Particularly common in teenagers with poor dental hygiene and a high-sugar diet, the symptoms include extreme pain, some bleeding, and a distinctive grey-white mucus that covers the gums.
Prevention is always the best remedy for gum and teeth problems - so start today. If you do develop gum problems, seek professional help early.
Get into a proper daily routine of thorough brushing and flossing, together with regular trips to the dentist, who will thoroughly clean your gums and teeth. This is the best way to prevent and to address most gum problems.
There are treatments available for periodontitis and gingivitis that your dentist will talk to you about.
You still need to see a dentist regularly to ward off the risk of severe gum disease and tooth loss. However, many alternative therapies exist for gum problems..
Massage - Massage bleeding gums with a mixture of lemon juice (half a lemon) and a cup of water; the acid can help reduce bacteria.
Gargle with bayberry (Myrica spp.) or prickly ash (Zanthoxylum americanum) which stimulates circulation.
Take echinacea (Echinacea spp.) to fight infection.
Do not use myrrh if you are pregnant.
Homoeopathy - For sore, bleeding gums try Mercurius vivus. If you continue to have problems, seek professional advice.
It is crucial for healthy gums, that you regularly consume a diet low in refined sugars and high in fibre. Other important additions to your diet include vitamins A (especially beta carotene), B complex, C, D and E, as well as Zinc, Bioflavonoids, and Folic acid (particularly for pregnant women and women on oral contraceptives).
Prevention of periodontal disease begins at home, with good dental hygiene. It is not good enough to only give our teeth a quick brush twice a day and only occasionally a good flossing.
For really proper care you need to floss daily, brush longer, rinse with a mouthwash, and massage your gum line. Always floss first to loosen the particles of debris and bacteria.
If you plan to get pregnant, see a dentist for a good cleaning first.
Diabetics and anyone undergoing chemotherapy or radiation treatments should see a dentist several times a year.
If you already have gingivitis or periodontitis you should see your dentist regularly to keep the condition under proper control and prevent recurrences.
When to seek further professional advice
- you have any of the groups of symptoms listed in the description section;