The surprising reason it’s vital to keep your gums healthy

In some cases, pocket surgery may be performed, where small incisions are made in the gums so that some of the gum tissue can be turned back. This exposes the root of the tooth for deeper scaling and root planing.

In the most extreme cases, the tooth may need to be removed and replaced with an implant, costing around £7,000. These methods often fail due to peri-implantitis, where the area around the implant also becomes inflamed.

“Periodontitis cannot be reversed, but effective treatment from your dentist, good oral hygiene, and regular maintenance from your hygienist can keep it under control,” says Dr. Joshi.

How to get and maintain healthy gums

There is no substitute for good oral hygiene habits, which are essential to preventing the build-up of harmful bacteria. Surveys consistently show that one in three people only brush their teeth once a day, but experts agree that brushing twice is necessary to maintain good gum health. Brush your teeth for two minutes at a time, use fluoride toothpaste, and preferably an electric toothbrush, which gets into crevices more effectively than a manual toothbrush.

“A lot of people don't realize how important it is to brush from the inside of the mouth, not just the outside,” Dr. Jeshwa says of the most common mistakes he sees. He also recommends using an antibacterial mouthwash to remove bacteria, but warns against doing so immediately after brushing: “This will wash away the fluoride.”

Flossing and using an interdental brush once a day are also recommended to reach areas not reached by your toothbrush. If your gums bleed when we brush or floss, that doesn't mean we should ignore the inflamed areas; we actually need to increase the cleaning of these areas.

What foods are good for gum health?

“There is a wealth of emerging evidence that a healthy and varied intake of macronutrients and micronutrients can help support healthy gums,” says Dr. Joshi.

We all know that too much sugar is bad for your teeth, but it’s also bad for your gums. “High-sugar diets and overly processed foods are pro-inflammatory,” she says.

Instead, we should choose anti-inflammatory foods, such as a Mediterranean diet rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, seafood and legumes, which studies show can reduce inflammation associated with gum disease.

She recommends consuming plenty of vitamin C through strawberries, kale, and oranges to build collagen in your gums. Lower vitamin D levels are also associated with higher rates of gum disease,” she says. For most people, the best way to ensure they're getting enough is through supplements. Studies show that lycopene, found in red fruits such as tomatoes, may also help reduce risk.

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