It’s kinda weird to go to a periodontist (this one) and have her nag you about changing your lifestyle, but if you do ever come for a consultation with me, be prepared for a lifestyle reboot too!
The major cause of gum disease is bacterial plaque, a sticky white film composed of food debris and bacteria that forms on the teeth. If the plaque is not removed, it can turn into a hard substance called calculus or tartar in less than two days. Tartar then acts as a further bacteria trap due to its rough surface.
The bacteria in plaque infects the gums and releases toxins that cause redness and irritation.
If the body is healthy, it is able to fight off the bacteria and the disease remains as gingivitis or localized inflammation of the gums. It doesn’t progress.
However once your immunity is weakened from smoking, stress, or a systemic disease, the bacteria wins and the bone and gums surrounding the teeth dissolve due to chemicals released by the body as it desperately tries to wall off the bacteria. This over-active inflammatory process is needs to be dampened, otherwise this excessive dumping of chemicals (catabolic cytokines) leads to progressive tissue destruction!
Treatment for gum disease will always require a good diagnosis, conventional cleaning of your gums and teeth by a professional, and good home-care.
But if you really want your gums to get truly better, you are going to have to kick some habits (like smoking), decrease your stress levels, and put in some effort to boost your immunity. Research continues to demonstrate that our overall health and oral health are intimately connected. So your gums are as healthy as you are!
Since uncontrolled inflammation is so destructive to our body, here are 3 main ways to decrease inflammation.
There are more studies that show we really are what we eat. In general, a diet rich with fresh fruits and vegetables and low in sugar and processed foods will lower the inflammatory load in the body.
Green tea, foods rich in Omega 3, and DHA supplements have also been shown to help prevent or reduce the severity of gum disease.
Research shows that subjects with a healthy weight and high physical fitness have a lower incidence of severe gum disease. Anyway, exercise is always good. Who doesn’t want to stay in shape, free from halitosis and gum disease, AND look great?
Apparently, getting that good night’s sleep is so important to the body! So stop watching those Korean drama serials and playing those video games and bunker down to bed.
It shows that psychotherapy helps improve sleep, which in turn reduces the amount of inflammation in the body! Isn’t that cool? The researchers are basically telling you to be lazy and rest in bed so you can heal and feel better. Pretty good way to get back to health, methinks.
So there you go. Eat well, sleep well, exercise well. All that will help you in your journey to better gum health!