How can I tell if my gums are healthy?
Healthy gums are free of any infection. When your gums are healthy, they are firmly attached to your teeth by what is called the periodontal, ligament. The word periodontal literally means around the tooth. The periodontal, ligament attachment is strong and tight enough to prevent any germs or their toxins from getting through, and any body fluids, like blood, from getting out. You can usually recognize when you have a healthy gum attachment because your gums will be pink, firm, and never bleed or hurt with routine brushing, flossing, or when chewing food.
If I haven’t been to my dentist in awhile, how will I know if I have gum disease?
It’s a good idea to visit your dentist to confirm that your gums are healthy and not at one of the various stages of gum disease. The truth is that you might not be able to tell if you have gum disease unless you see your dentist. Self diagnosis is not recommended, as it can lead to false conclusions. With that in mind, some of the common symptoms of gum disease you can observe yourself are listed next, to help you increase your awareness of the condition of your gums.
Gum disease isn’t hard to recognize. The most common features and symptoms are:
- Heavy plaque accumulations around your teeth, especially at the gum line. Plaque is a cream colored sticky substance on your teeth that is loaded with germs. If you scrape some of it off and hold it near your nose, it has an unpleasant odor.
- Tarter and stains around your teeth, especially at the gum line. Tarter is hardened or calcified plaque.
- Bleeding gums, especially when you brush or floss your teeth, or when you eat. This is the most common sign of gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease. However, bleeding gums may also be a sign of chronic gum disease, or periodontitis.
- Red looking gums at the gum line and between your teeth.
- Swollen, puffy gums at the gum line and between your teeth.
- Teeth that are becoming loose or are already loose. Spaces that develop between your teeth that weren’t there before are a sign of your teeth becoming loose.
- Persistent mouth odor or bad breath, especially if a mouth rinse or mints don’t help.
- Mild recession of your gums. Recession alone is not a sign of gum disease.
- One or more of the above and lack of pain. However, if your chronic gum disease evolves into an acute gum abscess around a tooth, you will usually have pain.
Whether you have gum disease in its mildest form, called gingivitis, or you have moderate or even advanced stage chronic gum disease, you must first heal your gums, if your goal is to keep your teeth for a lifetime. As obvious as this may seem, the reality is that if nothing is done to alter the unhealthy diet and lifestyle choices that often result in gum disease, you can eventually lose one or more of your teeth from gum disease, or end up with a painful gum abscess. Once you have discovered how to heal your gums, it will be easy for you to learn how to keep them healthy and keep your teeth indefinitely, with a nutritionally focused gum or periodontal maintenance program.
So how do I heal my gums?
There are several pages already written in this website that carefully explain how to heal your gums using a specialized nutritional program. In addition to nutritional support with specific supplements, you may still need any dental treatment recommended by your dentist. Healing your gums is not hard to do because your body is a marvelously designed living organism with the innate ability to regulate, repair, heal, renew and defend itself, provided it is given the right nutritional tools to accomplish this. This is how natural healing always occurs.
Why is the care of a dentist still needed?
It is very important that you regularly see your dentist or hygienist, because only these professionally trained people can thoroughly inspect your teeth and gums, and only a dentist can recommend appropriate treatment for your gums, should you still need dental care.
If your dentist and hygienist are holistic, you are more likely to be the recipient of dental hygiene visits that focus on how to keep your gums free from the germs associated with gum infection, rather than on traditional cleanings. Although getting your teeth professionally cleaned is helpful, the primary focus of your dental hygiene visit should be about what you eat or don’t eat and how it affects your ability to resist gum infections.
You can also learn how the foods you eat — or avoid eating — significantly determine your ability to resist germs, by looking at Lifestyles – part one and Lifestyles – part two on this website.
Unfortunately, most dentists and hygienists rarely provide any kind of nutritional advice. While it is true that visiting your dentist for a professional cleaning by a hygienist is always beneficial and highly recommended, without daily, high quality, effective nutritional supplementation, the benefits of improved oral hygiene to help maintain your gums in a true state of health, will only be temporary. That’s why dental hygienists who don’t provide you with nutritional and dietary advice are always recommending you return periodically for cleanings.
Brushing and flossing regularly at home is also helpful, because it reduces the number of germs on the teeth and under the gums. The primary benefit of brushing and flossing is to remove germ filled plaque, thus making your breath smell better. Reducing plaque also helps your fillings last longer.
To find a holistic or biological dentist, go to the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT) and click on the “Find a Dentist” link on the home page.
Once you have healed your gums you can keep them that way with a program of periodontal maintenance. This program must include both whole food nutritional supplementation and periodic dental examinations with hygiene visits, preferably at the office of a biological dentist. In essence, gum or periodontal maintenance is simply an extension of the same completely natural nutritional program that restores your gums to a condition of health.
Why are organic, all natural, and whole food supplements so important for gum and periodontal maintenance?
Because a well fed body is able to resist disease, and thus remain healthy, better than a poorly nourished body. When your body is well fed, it is perfectly capable of maintaining itself in a state of health by means of its natural, innate ability to constantly heal and renew itself.
Specialized whole food supplementation also enables you to compensate for other factors that may be inadequate – factors that affect your health and the health of your gums. Do you exercise regularly and sufficiently? Do you eat foods that are organic? Do you read labels on packaged processed foods to see what you are putting in your body? Do you stop buying and eating the stuff you know isn’t good for you? Do you avoid as many environmental toxins as possible?
If you are like most people, you are not likely to be motivated to put much energy into these important components of your lifestyle that either contribute to or erode the health of your gums, and your whole body as well. That is why organic and all natural whole food supplementation is so important for both healthy gum maintenance and for your overall health.