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By some estimations one in three people over the age of 30 has some form of periodontal disease, but are unaware of it because it is a problem that develops silently and painlessly. Periodontal disease occurs when bacteria in plaque infect the gums and bones that anchor the teeth. Periodontitis and dental decay are the primary causes of adult tooth loss. Bacterial toxins are then released into the bloodstream, beginning a cascade of health problems. We can't stress strongly enough the importance of addressing gingivitis if you have it, as recent research has revealed a relationship between periodontal infection and more serious health problems, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, respiratory diseases, and pre-term low birth weight babies.
Several studies have shown that chronic dental infection is associated with a significant increase in the risk of stroke. Here's why: bacteria from dental plaque, including Streptococcus sanguis, can enter your bloodstream and cause blood platelets to clump together and clot abnormally. Normally the bacteria are cleared from your body by the immune system, but if your immune system is compromised, as is the case with any infection, the bacteria create a major risk factor. Gum infections elevate fibrinogen and the clotting factor, leading to chronic inflammation and the build-up of arterial plaque, which reduces circulation. The result is atherosclerosis, hardening and narrowing of the arteries, and this can lead to a heart attack or stroke.
As with any infection, we want to reiterate that your immune system is compromised, thereby allowing the infection to take hold and spread unchecked. As part of your Wellness Program, it will be very beneficial to strengthen your immune system.
Brush your teeth with a soft toothbrush after every meal. This will help remove the source of material that leads to plaque.
Floss at least once a day to remove any food particles or plaque buildup.
Massage your gums daily with a rubber-tipped gum stimulator. This will increase the flow of blood to the area and help promote healing.
• Many people with periodontal disease have been found to be deficient in CoQ10. Supplementing with this nutrient should be beneficial in treating this disease.
• In addition, the infection mentioned above seems to affect those with folic acid deficiencies more so than those who aren't deficient. Because of this fact, gum disease may be an indicator of a folic acid deficiency. To help eliminate gum disease and its risk factor for stroke, take 800-5,000 mcg of folic acid daily.
• We suggest closely following a periodontal program recommended by your dentist. In addition, there are four things to add to your dentist's regimen:
Cranberries There is a compound in cranberries that prevents microorganisms from adhering to cells in the urinary tract where they cause urinary tract infections (UTIs). These "anti-adhesion" properties that prevent bacteria from forming in the urinary tract also prevent bacteria from growing in the mouth where they form dental plaque, which is the leading cause of gum disease.
Lemon juice Add the juice of one freshly squeezed lemon to a glass of warm water. Use as a mouthwash for one minute. The lemon will kill the bacteria that cause the gingivitis, and the acid will dissolve the plaque and strengthen the gums. Two remedies in one! Do this after every brushing. The tooth enamel with receive a protective coating from the toothpaste, this protecting it from the acid of the lemon.
Neem oil Neem (Azadirachta indica) is valued in Ayurvedic medicine for its varied healing properties due to its anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral capabilities. A cousin of mahogany, neem is a tropical evergreen tree native to India and Myanmar. Over 60 medicinal uses have been documented for neem so far - such as acne, eczema, psoriasis, cold sores, dandruff, athlete's foot, ulcers, ringworm, and gingivitis, to name a few. For gingivitis, gargle with a solution of 12-20 drops of neem leaf extract in two ounces of water, or use neem toothpaste. Caution: Pregnant women or those trying to conceive, should not ingest any neem product.
Sage Make a strong tea of sage and add sea salt to make a mouthwash. Pour a cup of boiling water over one tablespoon of sage leaves; cover and steep for 15 minutes; strain; add two teaspoons of sea salt. Use twice daily after brushing your teeth. Refrigerate. Both sage and sea salt have antiseptic properties that reduce inflammation and promote healing. They are also astringent, which helps tighten the gums.
Tea tree oil Add a drop of tea tree oil to your toothbrush on top of your toothpaste; brush as usual. Tea tree oil, derived from the leaves of the native Australian Melaleuca alternifolia tree, contains antiseptic compounds which help prevent gum disease. Make sure the product label says it is 100% pure tea tree oil.