More than half of adult Americans have gum disease. Poor nutrition caused much of it, with neglect contributing a share.
Gum disease has been linked to heart disease. Doctors suggest that bacteria from diseased gums moves into the blood and then to the heart, causing heart attacks and stroke.
The saliva of people with gum disease doesn’t have the antioxidant effectiveness of healthy people, inhibiting the body’s ability to ward off inflammation.
Other gum disease risks may include rheumatoid arthritis, low-birth-weight and premature births, and respiratory infections. Seniors with sore gums have a higher rate of chronic illness.
You’re ahead if you are already flossing regularly and brushing properly with a soft-bristle brush. You’re in even better shape if you’re avoiding sugary snacks and increasing your intake of fresh (and frequently raw) fruits and vegetables.
On that strong foundation, build better gums with these tips:
- Chew your food well.
- Carry sugarless gum for those occasions when you can’t brush. It’ll produce saliva to help carry away food particles from your teeth.
- Consider vitamin and mineral supplements. Vitamins A, B-6, C and D and folic acid are thought to be especially effective in preventing gum disease, as are calcium, magnesium, Omega-3 and green tea supplements.