Gingivitis is one of the most common dental hygiene problems. The symptoms of gingivitis are sore or inflamed gums that are receding away from the teeth which may bleed a little when you brush your teeth or sometimes when you eat. Another symptom of gingivitis is embarrassingly noticeable and difficult to cure bad breath.
If gingivitis isn’t cured, the problems will come to extend beyond the aesthetic and uncomfortable. Gingivitis is caused by toxic bacterial infection, and if left alone to proliferate it will become periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is linked to having higher risk of heart disease (yes, believe it or not), respiratory ailments, and certain complications related to birth and baby health in pregnant women. Some research also suggests that it has a causal relationship with higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease. And, as you may have already intuited, severe periodontal disease can lead to the loss of teeth.
Approximately 30% of people who get gingivitis have it progress into periodontal disease. More than 75% of adult Americans will get gingivitis.
The good news among this grim information is that you can prevent or, if need be, totally reverse gingivitis by taking certain inexpensive steps. These steps don’t cost a lot of money but they do demand discipline. However, with practice even that discipline becomes an easy routine. You prevent major trouble (and possible big expenses) with these simple, routine actions.
Brusha-brusha. This one is so easy, even a Neanderthal can do it. But that just makes it that much more shocking how many people don’t brush their teeth regularly. You want to brush your teeth twice a day (three times a day is even better, but that does understandably become unfeasible for a lot of us), and the best times are when you first get up or just before going to work and then again just before going to bed. Get a new toothbrush or new electric toothbrush head every 60 days (or more frequently).
Floss. This is the hard one. Flossing can seem quite annoying and time-consuming. So in order to work this into your daily regimen, consider these stratagems:
(a) Start by flossing just one tooth per day, gradually building up to two teeth per day, then three, etc. Within three to four weeks, you should be magically finding the time to floss a lot, if not most or all, of your teeth every day.
(b) Make use of disposable hybrid dental floss picks for your teeth. The picks act like toothpicks and are attached to handles which tautly hold a string of (often mint-scented) floss. These clever devices make flossing that much easier and more efficient, and their appearance even makes it kind of Space Age cool.
Rinse with anti-plaque & gingivitis formula. This is the easiest one, and it all comes down to merely remembering to do it. This isn’t the same as mouthwash, although it does freshen your breath, too. You just take a swig and swish it around in your mouth for at least 30 seconds, then spit it out and you’re all good to go. You can do this when you feel like you don’t have time to brush or floss, too. The best time to use this stuff is just after brushing: use it as the rinse-out of the remaining toothpaste in your mouth.
Have healthy habits. The leading cause of gingivitis is just simply unhealthy habits. It’s more than not brushing enough — it’s a high sugar, high carb diet, and even lack of exercise. If you exercise more, you strengthen your immune system and that makes it harder for those toxin-producing bacteria to breed in your mouth. Lots of sugars and refined carbs going over your teeth and gums just feeds and breeds those bacteria. Cut way back on those sugar-laden and “white bread” foods and drinks, and save them for special occasions like holidays, and go for a run a few times a week instead of being the couch surfer. Also look into using health supplements such as Co-Q10, manganese, and magnesium, among others. Your mouth (and the rest of you) will be grateful.
If you do develop gingivitis: use a mixture of one ounce of warm water and once ounce of hydrogen peroxide to swish around in your mouth for 20 to 30 seconds. (Please take out your chromium metallic dental prosthetic plate, if you have such a thing, before you do this — that's very important!) Use this wash three to five times per day until the gingivitis is gone. (This is in addition to the other techniques outlined above.)
[box type=”note”]About the Author: Jessie Flesner is a freelance writer in New Albany, Indiana. She often writes about the dental industry for PDental Inc.[/box]