Thursday, February 25, 2010

Gingivitis - Gum Disease

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This is what the dentist told me I have, though he didn't think it would cause swelling on my cheek. Sounds scary and potentially is very scary as it can lead onto periodontitis (Click and be grossed out). Also dental diseases have been linked to a number of diseases that affect the whole body - cardiovascular diseases, Alzheimer's, diabetes, pancreatic etc.

Gingivitis is a common disease and up to 80% of the American adult population suffer from it at sometime.

Luckily, coupled with regular visits to the dentist, you can do a lot to improve the situation though good dental care and diet.

Dental problems, including tooth decay, gingivitis and periodontitis have the same cause. Bacteria present in the month, feed on sugars and fermentable carbohydrates, they then secrete organic acids which lower the PH levels in the mouth. When the PH levels fall below 5.7 problems start. The acids then attack the teeth and gums.

So how to control it?

Reduce the acidity level in your mouth and the time it is exposed to these conditions and you'll improve your oral health. The easiest why to do this is to reduce your sugars and fermentable carbohydrates intake and to control the times when you eat them.

Food to be aware of

The higher the glycemic level of a carbohydrate the more acidic it can make the mouth. Glucose and Maltose are both a 100 but foods such as bread, potatoes, rice also have a high gylcemic level.

For a mind blogging list of carbohydrates and their gylcemic level Mendosa website

A shorter simpler list healthy weight forum

I've mostly removed sugary foods from my diet (but not starchy foods) but you don't have to be so extreme (Though Hujeol, a professor at Washington University states that any fermentable carbohydrate can cause tooth decay). We all need to eat and as long as meals contain a mixture of proteins, fats and carbohydrates, this should counteract the worst effects of foods with a high gylcemic level. From what I read, I still think it's a good idea to wash your mouth with water after a meal and ideally have a lump of cheese to reduce the acidity of your mouth.

After eating your mouth can remind acidic for 20-30 minutes. So if you are sweet toothed, it's better to get that evil sweetness during a main meal and avoid snacking on it. Each time you eat (sugars and starches) you can make your mouth acidic and create the conditions for dental decay.

Snacks to avoid

Sugary things, soft drinks, bananas, dried fruit, probably bread (white and brown).

Possible replacements

Nuts, cheese, I think I need to do more research on this. Some advice from your oral health on possible snacks.

This is the advice from Colgate on snacking. Though most breads have a high gylcermic level.

Changes in diet should be coupled with better care of your teeth and gums.

Brushing twice a day but remember don't brush after eating sugary food or soft drinks as they soften the teeth and if you brush straight after eating these foods, you are likely to etch your teeth.

Floss - once a day. Flossing sites recommend that you carry some on you at all time. I'd agree with this, especially if you already have some troublesome teeth. I have on the top lefthand side of my mouth and food often gets stuck in them.

Sorry, a long one today. I'll work on making the information more concise. I'd like to contact some 'experts' for further advise. I've done a lot of reading on the subject and I'm finding it very interesting.

Lets get rid of dental diseases and smile!

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