Oral hygiene: Simple dental care tips to restore your gum health

More than 50% of the population has some kind of dental problem and among them dental caries, tooth decay and gum disease are the major problems but only a few people realize that they have a problem and go ahead to visit a dental clinic for treatment. The presence of dental plaque is a major reason for gum disease and when this plaque grows into the gum line and gets deposited, it irritates the gums.

This leads to chronic inflammation and decay of the supporting structure of the teeth. Genetics is also a factor in gum disease, as are lifestyle choices. In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Gauri Merchant, Director and Consultant, Dental Services at Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital, revealed, “A diet low in nutrients can lessen the body’s ability to fight infection and increase a person’s susceptibility to gum disease.”

She advised, “Gum inflammation can be treated with hot water fomentation. Flossing can also help with treating your gums in keeping them healthy. Food stuffs like salmon, carrots, apples and others can contribute in taking care of your gums”

To avoid costly and painful dental issues and enjoy healthy teeth and gums, she suggested the following measures can be taken:

1. Receive proper dental care and strive to control insulin levels. This can help prevent gum disease.

2. Maintain good dental health care to prevent mouth infections. Mouth infections require immediate treatment. A dentist may prescribe antibiotics, medicated mouth rinses and more frequent cleanings to avoid complications related to bacterial infections.

3. Monitor blood sugar levels, triglyceride and cholesterol levels checked regularly. There may be a direct correlation between unhealthy levels and elevated chances of developing periodontal disease.

Bringing his expertise to the same, Dr Jamshed Tavadia, Dental Surgeon, BDS, MDS Periodontist at Masina Hospital, said, “The ‘periodontium’ is the supporting tissues that surround the neck of the teeth and the roots. The ‘Gingiva’ or gums are one of the 4 parts of this Periodontium.” To have healthy gums, he recommended one must follow the following simple rules:

1. Right brush and correct brushing technique – The bristles of the brush should be soft but straight. Old and frayed bristled brushes do not clean the teeth efficiently and should be replaced immediately. The bristles of the brush should be towards the gum line at an approximate 45° to the long axis of the tooth. Short circular motions with gentle pressure should be applied.

2. Floss and other interproximal aids – Patients usually ask, ‘Which teeth do we require to floss?” The answer is simple – “only the ones you would like to keep healthy.” Flossing correctly and use of interdental aids helps to clear the food particles stuck in the dental embrasures.

3. Mouthwash – The over the counter products do help in reducing the speed at which tartar builds up. It’s minty flavour gives a fresh feel to the mouth and reduces oral malodour by acting on the bacteria that cause this Halitosis. Sometimes the dentist might prescribe chlorhexidine based therapeutic mouthwashes specially in compromises cases or post surgical cases.

4. Regular dental check ups – The easiest way to keep gum disease under check is a regular dental visit. The earlier the stage of disease, the easier to treat and most importantly a better prognosis. Early signs of bleeding from gums or slightest of recession should be reported and not overlooked.

5. Quit smoking – It’s no big secret that smoking has a deleterious effect on the gums. It causes bone loss which leads to reduction in the tooth support. Nicotine also causes reduced blood supply to the gums. Smoking cessation has shown drastic improvement in over all gum health in individuals.

So to sum it up, dental care experts insist on correct brushing, floss, mouthwash, regular follow up with your dentist and quit the butt. Remember a poor gum health can lead to loss of the best looking teeth.

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