Five Essential Home Health Care Practices for Controlling Gingivitis

Never again,” Cindy vowed. Cindy spent two full days in the dentist’s chair having infected gum tissue debrided (surgically removed). She spent three weeks on a liquid diet while her gums healed. And then she had to go back to the dentist twice to have her stitches removed.

Adding insult to injury, dental insurance did not pay for the procedure and Cindy will be paying off the $5,000 expense for the next two years. But had Cindy just known, five simple home remedies for gum disease, plus regular checkups, would have shown her how to get rid of gum disease before it even started.

1. Brush your teeth after every meal and snack.

This is very basic advice, but it’s amazing how easy it is to get it wrong. Brushing hard not only is not necessary for preventing gum disease, it can actually make gum disease worse. The objective of brushing your teeth is removing food particles on your teeth at the gum line, where they can feed plaque bacteria. This is best done with a fast, light stroke, like an electric toothbrush.

It also helps to use the right toothpaste. Although the dental research establishment is not enthusiastic about baking soda and peroxide toothpastes because of a lack of statistically meaningful data, many dentists and many people who have gingivitis find that keeping the mouth alkaline keeps plaque bacteria from doing their work.home-health-care-for-gingivitis

2. Floss every day.

It’s easy to get flossing wrong, too. The objective of flossing is to get food particles off your teeth, not off your gums. It’s essential to wrap the floss around a tooth and move back and forth to loosen food particles from both front and back. Running the floss up and down into the gum, however, only grinds food particles into the gum, bruising it and making it easier for germs to enter.

 

3. Use mouthwash to keep your breath fresh, but don’t use it to fight gum disease.

Certain prescription mouthwashes such as those containing chlorhexidine (Periguard, Periodox) help keep plaque bacteria in check if you use them as prescribed. Regular Listerine may help, too. But most mouthwashes mostly freshen your breath. This isn’t a bad thing, but you should not rely on them for controlling gum disease.

4. Treat allergies.

A surprising contributor to gum disease is drying of the gums caused by breathing through the mouth. Treating stuffy nose, especially nighttime stuffy nose, since we don’t usually interrupt our own sleep to get a glass of water to hydrate the mouth, goes a long way toward preventing gingivitis. And the changes in diet that treat allergies, such as eating a piece of fruit a day, also provide the bioflavonoids that work with vitamin C to strengthen the gums.

5. Sweet foods tend to make gingivitis worse, but bitter foods tend to protect against it.

One of the surprising findings of recent scientific research is that drinking coffee protects against gingivitis. The tannins in coffee, and also in tea and red wine, “tan” the lining of the gums against infection, and also make it harder for plaque bacteria to attach to the teeth.

Sticky sweets, on the other hand, provide plaque bacteria with a buffet of carbohydrates, encouraging their growth. It’s important to brush the teeth as soon as possible after consuming caramel, jelly beans, or toffee. The one exception to this rule is Manuka honey. Manuka honey contains antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral compounds that fight both gum disease and hunger.