What defense mechanisms do I have to strengthen my gums and prevent gum disease? Is flossing my only weapon?
Welcome to our "Frequently Asked Questions" series.
If you have a dental related question, please post a comment or send an email through our Contact Us form. Once again our question comes from one of our Facebook Fans.
What can you do to strengthen your teeth and gums?
Your teeth and gums are important, and perhaps undervalued, parts of your body. With age, tooth decay and gum disease become increasingly common. However, it is possible to prevent and even reverse a decline in oral hygiene by following a series of simple steps. Strengthening the teeth and gums can be done without the need for specialist equipment and requires only small changes in your daily routine.
- Brush your teeth regularly. Brushing three times a day, once after each meal, will prevent plaque build up, which is an important part of preventing damage to the teeth and gums in the first place. Floss at least once a day, which removes bits of food from between your teeth.
- Avoid foods and drinks that are harmful to your teeth, such as those high in sugar or acid. Although natural sugars, such as those found in fruit and vegetables, are good, those which are made from refined sugars, such as those found in candy or colas, are harmful. By avoiding these you will prevent your teeth and gums from experiencing further damage.
- Manage your diet and include foods that promote growth in teeth and gums. Yogurt, cheese and milk contain calcium, which helps teeth become stronger. Grapefruit has also been shown to improve the health of gums, although wait 30 minutes after eating grapefruit before brushing teeth. Kiwis, limes and cranberry also kill oral bacteria, which helps to strengthen teeth and gums and freshen breath.
- Prescription fluoride such as Fluorodex can be used to strengthen teeth. MI Paste can also be used to rebuild teeth enamel, as it contains high levels of calcium. Xyltol ( a natural sweetener) is also available in a variety of over-the-counter products and helps to fight harmful bacteria.
- Visit us on a regular basis, and consult with your hygienist or Dr. Zimmerman if you are concerned about the weakness of your teeth or gums. If you have especially susceptible teeth or gums, you may want to visit more regularly and your hygienist and Dr. Zimmerman will be able to recommend the best course of action for you.
If you have any questions about what else you can do to keep your mouth healthy and your teeth last a lifetime, ask us at your next dental appointment or by posting your question in the comments section below.