Periodontal Disease (Gum Disease)

Periodontal disease is characterized by inflammation or degeneration of the tissues that surround and support the teeth - gingiva (gums), the bone the teeth are set in (alveolar bone), the periodontal ligament, and the cementum (the tissue that connects these structures).

The most common and often initial form of periodontal disease is inflammation of the gums, called gingivitis. If left untreated, gingivitis can spread, causing increased inflammation in the membranes and tissues around the base of the teeth and potential erosion of the underlying bone, a conditions known as periodontitis that is the major cause of bone loss in adults.

The most common symptoms of periodontal disease is red, inflamed gum tissue that bleeds easily due to flossing, brushing of the teeth, and/or eating hard foods such as raw apples.

What To Consider

Periodontal disease is primarily due to poor dental hygiene (lack of teeth brushing and flossing) leading to a buildup of bacterial plaque. In can also occur during pregnancy and puberty, due to hormonal factors, and/or be due to nutritional deficiencies, especially vitamin C, folic acid and other B vitamins, and calcium.

Additional risk factors include problems with the biting surface (malocclusion), breathing through the mouth, food impaction, decreased tissue in and around the gums due to plaque buildup, and poor diet. It can also be caused by hydrochloric acid deficiency. Smoking and the use of birth control pills can also play roles.

Caution

Gingivitis may be one of the first signs that there is an underlying systemic problem or debilitating disease such as diabetes or leukemia, heavy metal toxicity, lowered resistance, allergies, or vitamin deficiencies. In addition, the bacteria associated with periodontal disease has been shown to migrate through the body, creating a burden on the cardiovascular system and contributing to heart disease.

Self-Care Tips

Lifestyle
The best treatment for periodontal disease is prevention. Brush your teeth and floss after each meal, and see a holistic dentist for checkups every six months.

Diet
Eat an organic, whole foods diet at least seven servings of fresh organic fruits and vegetables per day, as well as other high-fiber foods. Eliminate sugar, refined carbohydrates, processed foods, soda, and commercial fruits juices.

Nutritional Supplementation
After flossing, rinse your mouth with several mouthfuls of liquid folic acid for one minute then swallow. To make your own liquid folic acid solution buy folic acid supplements in the form of folic acid crystals in 800 mcg capsules. Empty two capsules in pure filtered water. Also take folic acid orally, along with vitamin B complex, vitamin C, vitamin A, beta carotene, vitamin E, vitamin K, calcium, magnesium, and zinc. Co-enzyme Q10 (CoQ10) also very helpful for gum disease.

For infected gums, increase your dosage of vitamin A for three days and then slowly reduce to maintenance dose over one to two weeks. You can also massage your gums with oil from vitamin A and E capsules along with zinc oxide cream.

For gums that bleed, drink pure filtered water with fresh squeezed organic lemon juice upon arising and before going to bed.

Ayurveda
Swish a mouthful of warm sesame oil for two minutes and then massage the gums and brush the teeth with catechu and neem powder paste.

Herbs
Combine equal parts of myrrh and Echinacea to make a tincture, then apply to your gums three times a day using a very fine paintbrush. Also massage your gums with goldenseal or bayberry paste. For internal use, combine the tinctures of echinacea, cleavers, and prickly ash in equal parts and take one teaspoon twice a day.

Juice Therapy
Drink juices high in vitamin A and beta carotene, such as carrot or cantaloupe juice.

Topical Treatment
Brush your teeth with mixture of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide, and massage your gums with your fingers. In cases of bleeding gums make a mouthwash by combining one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in a cup of pure filtered water. Use this to gargle with in the morning and evening. Using a toothpaste made from tea tree oil, citrus seed extract, and/or hydrogen peroxide can also be helpful.

Caution

If your symptoms persist despite the above measures, seek the help of a qualified health professional.

Back to Health Conditions A to Z

 

 


 

 

 

All material © 2010 WellnessWatchersMD. All rights reserved.
Use of this site constitutes acceptance of WellnessWatchersMD's terms of use and privacy policy. The information provided in this Web site is intended for your general knowledge only, and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. Please see your personal physician immediately if you have any concern about your health, and you should always consult your physician before starting a fitness regimen.