In the fight against periodontal disease, professional dental care is a critical weapon, but that doesn't mean you can ignore home care. Since you have a good chunk of time between dental visits, you need to understand that how you care for your teeth daily can have a huge impact, whether you're trying to avoid periodontal disease or treat it.
What you eat can have an even greater impact on your oral health than on other health issues, because your food comes in contact with your teeth and gums while you're eating it, in addition to helping or harming your body after you digest it. Here are some nutritional strategies to help you avoid or recover from periodontal disease.
1. Nourish Your Gums
Giving your gums plenty of energy can help them stay healthy and stave off gingivitis. If you've already contracted gingivitis, nourishing your gums can help them more easily heal from gum disease after a professional scaling treatment.
Make sure you eat plenty of high-quality protein (such as unprocessed meat, ideally organic). Your gums are made of mucous membrane tissue, and protein can help them stay strong. You may want to talk to your doctor about supplementing with nourishing substances such as collagen and fish oil as well.
2. Choose Beneficial Sweeteners
You may hear the advice to eat less sugar frequently from your dentist, especially if you have a lot of cavities or if you've been diagnosed with gum disease already. But instead of an avoidance mindset, choose a more sustainable habit such as hunting down healthier substitutes to the sweets you crave.
For example, chewing gum with xylitol in it may actually increase tooth and gum health by reducing the amount of bad bacteria in your mouth.
3. Replace Inflammatory Foods With Anti-Inflammatory Foods
Anti-inflammatory foods are often considered to be beneficial for people with gum disease because one of the symptoms of gum disease is increased inflammation. Although inflammation is a sign that your body is trying to fight off the illness, it can also get out of hand and cause problems of its own (such as pain and a receding gum line).
Diets with higher amounts of carbohydrates (such as sugar and white bread) may be more inflammatory. You can increase the anti-inflammatory quotient of your diet by increasing the amount of leafy greens, wildcaught fish, and dairy that you eat. Be sure to consult with your doctor first, as some health conditions may preclude these diet changes.
4. Add Minerals and Vitamins for Bone Health
Despite the name, gums aren't the only victim of gum disease. Teeth can fall out and your jaw bone density can be irreparably lost as the disease progresses. Keeping your bones healthy and strong can be a helpful supplementary strategy for avoiding or fighting gum disease.
Some of the most important minerals for your bone structure include calcium and magnesium. Smaller amounts of other minerals are required as well. Talk to your doctor about the possibility of taking a multi-mineral bone health supplement.
Believe it or not, your bones can't actually use minerals efficiently without enough vitamins, so talk to your doctor about a multivitamin supplement as well. Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and Vitamin K2 are some of the most critical ones for supporting healthy bones and mineral placement.
These four strategies can help you sustain your gums and avoid worsening their condition through your diet. Remember, though, these strategies should only be attempted once you've cleared them with your doctor, and they shouldn't be used as substitutes for professional dental care.
You should also keep in mind that receding gums don't regrow, so any newly exposed surfaces of your teeth will still require special care, and you'll still have to be extra careful with your gums from now on so they don't start receding again in the future. Call Tomsik Family Dentistry today to make an appointment if you suspect your gums may be receding.