What to look for
swollen, red gums.
pain, loose teeth, and
bad breath, which suggest periodontitis.
inflamed gums coated with a gray-white mucus;
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
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
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
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.
Smoking can increase your
risk of securing some kind of gum disease. Other at-risk groups include people with diabetes, leukemia, and
Crohn's disease, and pregnant women.
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 bleeding gums with a mixture of lemon juice (half a lemon) and a cup of water;
the acid can help reduce bacteria.
Herbal Therapies -
Massage gums with
(Hydrastis canadensis) or
molmol) to avoid or
Gargle with bayberry (Myrica
spp.) or prickly ash (Zanthoxylum americanum) which stimulates circulation.
A combination of sage (Salvia officinalis) and chamomile (Matricaria recutita) makes an excellent
Take echinacea (Echinacea spp.) to fight infection.
Or you can drink
Roman chamomile (Anthemis nobilis) or myrrh (Commiphora molmol) tea to fight inflammation in the
Do not use myrrh if you
For sore, bleeding gums try
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).
(Go to our Vitamins Page)
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