Having healthy teeth requires more than just brushing and flossing. If you want to have healthy teeth, it’s time to take a look at what you’re putting into your mouth.
Mention the word gingivitis and most people think that they’ve got to brush their teeth to prevent it. Yes, it is true that proper brushing and flossing will help to prevent gingivitis, but that is not the be all and end all. Proper nutrition is also a great line of defense in the war against gingivitis.
Gingivitis, which is the mildest form of periodontal disease, is an inflammation of the gums. Starting out as the soft bacteria that remain on the teeth from either improper or infrequent brushing, the accumulated bacteria harden and become tartar. Left untreated the bacteria penetrate the gums and become gingivitis. At this stage a person may experience bleeding when brushing and flossing teeth.
Gingivitis, although initially a mild, left untreated can permanently destroy the connective tissue that holds the teeth in place thus causing tooth loss. Severe cases can also destroy the jaw. Common symptoms are abscesses, bad breath, and bleeding gums.
In addition to brushing and flossing, a healthy diet can help to prevent gingivitis. Here are a few things to keep in mind when fighting the disease:
- Fiber, fiber, fiber. Diet rich in fiber such as beans, whole grains, vegetables and fruit help to build a body’s immune system. A healthy immune system can better fight off the bacteria that cause gingivitis. A compromised immune system is less able to fight the bacteria.
- Eat naturally crunchy foods. The process of chewing crunchy healthy foods naturally cleans teeth. The rubbing motion of the food against the teeth helps to remove some of the bacteria and soft food particles left on and in-between teeth, which helps to fight gingivitis. Soft foods tend to settle around the gum line and between teeth helping bacteria to grow.
- Vitamins and minerals each day helps keep the gingivitis away. Vitamins and minerals such as B, C, zinc, iron, magnesium, potassium, selenium and calcium all help to fight gingivitis. These bacteria fighting vitamins and minerals are commonly found in whole grain foods fruits and vegetables.
- Stay away from sugar. It should be of no surprise that bacteria love sugar. As sugar hides in the nooks and crannies between teeth, bacteria will grow. Cutting back on sweets, fruit juices and white flour will help to reduce the amount of bacteria in that accumulates in the mouth which will help to prevent gingivitis.
One of the best ways to avoid periodontal disease is to institute a program of regular oral hygiene including brushing and flossing twice daily in addition to scheduling regular visits to the dentist.