Spring cleaning is not just for houses – it is also a great ethos to adopt when it comes to avoiding gum disease, advise dental health experts.
Traditionally, spring cleaning has meant thoroughly clearing your house of dust and cobwebs in preparation for the months ahead.
And more recently it has become a metaphor for decluttering and reorganising everything to make our lives run more smoothly.
So spring is a great time to tackle the hidden oral hygiene problems that could be undermining your body’s overall health, advise the experts from toothpaste and mouthwash manufacturers Eludril and Elgydium.
Consistently good oral health is vitally important because it can be an early warning sign of health problems elsewhere in the body.
‘Many health conditions have been linked to gum disease,’ advise the experts Eludril and Elgydium.
‘For example, those with gum disease are almost twice as likely to suffer from coronary artery disease as those without gum disease.
‘People with diabetes seem to suffer more from gum disease and this makes it very difficult for them to control their blood sugar levels.
‘Pregnant women with gum disease may be seven times more likely to have a baby that is born too early and too small.
‘And a link has even been suggested between the incidence of gum disease and breast cancer.’
Eludril and Elgydium experts recommend the following approach to spring cleaning our mouths:
* Brush your teeth at least twice a day for around two minutes. It is too easy to overlook this when you are tired and it is late. If you are at home for the evening, get ready for bed before you start feeling tired. That way, you brush your teeth and floss when you are more alert and it is less of a chore. Just don’t eat or drink anything afterwards
* Floss every day, as this reaches areas that a toothbrush might miss. Get into the habit, it does not take long at all
* Visit your dentist or hygienist on a regular basis, as this will ensure that signs of gum disease are spotted and treated as soon as possible. Not been to your dentist/hygienist for a while? Pick up the phone and make that all important appointment
* Replace your toothbrush regularly (every three or four months or as soon as the bristles look worn). Add this to your next shopping list or buy it online
* Avoid starchy, sugary foods and drinks as these make the problem worse. Think about what you eat and its effect on your health
* Eat plenty of fresh foods and vegetables and avoid snacking between meals. If you are hungry between meals, snack on something healthy like fresh fruit, particularly apples or raw vegetables such as carrots. Not only are they good for you but the action of chewing will stimulate saliva flow which reduces the build-up of bacteria.
They add: ‘Should you be aware of the early signs of gum disease, visit your dentist as soon as possible, as the condition is easily and effectively treated if caught early and need not result in any long-term health issues.’
These are the gum disease symptoms you should be looking out for:
- Sore gums or swollen gums are often early indicators of gum disease (often known as gingivitis)
- Bleeding gums, it is not usual for gums to bleed so if they do there is something wrong
- Receding gums, a sign that gum disease has been left untreated for some time.
If you have receding gums, the root of your tooth will be exposed and this will often result in local sensitivity and pain.
As this condition worsens, a receding gum line will de-stabilise your teeth and they will gradually loosen, move and ultimately either fall out or have to be extracted.
Quick, easy and effective treatments are available for those who have detected the early signs of gum disease.