What is Gum Disease?
With more than half of the American population over the age of thirteen suffering from it, gum disease is an unfortunately common condition across the country. Gum disease is a buildup of bacteria in the gums, which leads to inflammation. This inflammation is called gingivitis, and is a mild condition that, if neglected, is followed by the more severe problem of periodontal disease. Nearly half of all people in America over the age of 60 suffer from this more severe condition, which is characterized by plaque buildup. Bacterial infection may irritate the walls of the arteries and lead to heart attacks and pancreatic cancer. While brushing one’s teeth and flossing on a regular basis are helpful for preventing gum disease, it is still necessary to make regular visits to the dentist. Symptoms of gum disease include pain in the gums and teeth, bleeding gums, receding gums, loose teeth, and visible plaque between the teeth.
How can I treat Gum Disease?
Traditional Chinese medicine considers gum disease to be caused by excess heat in the stomach due to an improper diet and stress, and this heat then leads to the gums’ inflammation. As such, treatment for gum disease focuses on cooling the heat through eating fresh fruits, vegetables, beans and legumes, and whole grains. Other remedies include brushing the teeth on a regular basis before and after meals, as well as before and after sleep. It can also be helpful to brush with baking soda to alkalinize the gums as an antibacterial measure, and rinse with a self-made mouthwash of food-grade hydrogen peroxide and baking soda in warm water. The digestive system, which directly affects the gums, will benefit from a daily practice of walks and either tai chi or qi gong.
What should I avoid in my lifestyle for Gum Disease?
It is important to avoid sugars, processed foods, spicy foods, and greasy foods to prevent gum disease. Highly acidic foods, such as coffee, soda, and alcohol foster greater bacterial activity in the mouth and should be avoided, as well. Smoking and smokeless tobacco are also known to cause gum disease.
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