Good oral health requires much more than just scheduling a checkup with your dentist once or twice per year. While genetics definitely plays a role in how resilient your teeth are to everyday use and the process of aging, gum health is largely determined by your oral hygiene habits. Here’s some information about what causes gum pain and gum disease, as well as how to prevent gum disorders from forming. We’ll also address natural remedies for gum health if you’re already experiencing some of these painful symptoms.
Types of Gum Disorders
There are two main types of gum disorders that you should be familiar with: gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums and is often a precursor to the more serious condition of peritonitis. Bacteria and plaque build up to cause the gums to be inflamed and even bleed during brushing when you have gingivitis.
If this condition isn’t treated, periodontitis can result and cause the gums to pull away from the teeth and create pockets that are at a great risk of infection. With periodontitis, it is possible to even lose teeth as a result of gum issues. Untreated periodontitis is also known to make the body more susceptible to serious disorders like diabetes, stroke, and premature birth for pregnant women.
Causes of Gum Disease
The presence of plaque in the mouth is the most common cause of gum disease, and much of this can be eliminated with good oral hygiene. People who are experiencing strong hormonal shifts, such as teens going through puberty and women who are pregnant, are more prone to gum disease. Cancer, HIV, and diabetes also make gum disease more likely, as well as certain medications that have dry mouth as a side effect.
Having a family history of gingivitis and periodontitis also makes it more likely that you will have gum issues too. In addition to red, swollen, and bleeding gums, other possible symptoms of gum disease are a receding gum line, shifting teeth, and bad breath.
How to Prevent Gum Disease
The best and easiest way to prevent gum disease is to brush, floss, and use mouthwash daily. Since tobacco products make it harder for the tissues of the gums to repair themselves, cigarette smoking and chewing tobacco should be avoided.
Eating a well-balanced diet with foods rich in vitamin E and vitamin C can help the body repair damaged tissues and support gum health. For better gum health, eat more leafy green vegetables, broccoli, citrus fruits, and nuts. To protect the gums from future damage, always brush your teeth gently with a soft bristle brush and drink lots of water throughout the day to stimulate saliva production.
Natural Treatments for Gum Disease
Some natural remedies for gum pain and gum disease include taking vitamin C supplements and applying bentonite clay or activated charcoal to the affected gums. Cold or warm compresses can help alleviate gum pain when it strikes, as well as using a salt water rinse in the mouth and applying tea bags to the gums after the bags have cooled off. Oral pain relief sprays that contain tea tree oil, aloe vera, peppermint, and clove oil may help with gum pain as well.