Periodontal disease is a very treatable dental condition. But you can help your gums by avoiding certain foods.
While periodontal or gum disease is a severe oral health issue, it can be treated with therapies to improve your gum health and prevent tooth loss. But treatments and excellent at-home dental care aren’t the only measures you take to keep your gums in good shape. What you eat also matters.
Nearly 50 percent of adults over age 30 in the U.S. have some form of gum disease, with the number rising to 70 percent for those 65 and older. Fortunately, gum disease is a manageable condition with professional dental treatments and at-home care. An essential element of at-home care is avoiding certain foods that could worsen the disease and your pain.
What is periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease develops when a chronic bacterial infection erodes the gums and bone supporting the teeth. When you brush and floss, you remove a good amount of the bacteria and the sticky plaque that forms on your teeth and gums. But if the bacteria and plaque aren’t cleaned off, they combine into hardened tartar, which inflames the gums. Tartar is much harder to remove and can only be cleaned by a dental hygienist.
When the gums are inflamed and infected, they bleed and become tender. Noticeable gaps between the teeth and gums also may appear. The teeth can loosen and fall out as the bacterial infection spreads further into the gum tissue and bone. However, complications from gum disease extend beyond tooth loss. Studies have linked gum disease with severe heart problems if the infection reaches the bloodstream.
Poor dental hygiene habits are the leading cause of periodontal disease. Other risk factors include smoking, hormonal changes during pregnancy, dry mouth, and chronic conditions such as diabetes. Gum disease can also run in families.
Foods to avoid with periodontal disease
Talk to your dentist if you experience the first symptoms of gum disease. A non-surgical procedure called scaling and root planing can treat gingivitis, the earliest and mildest stage of periodontal disease, by thoroughly cleaning all bacteria and plaque on the gums and tooth root.
More advanced forms of periodontal disease can be managed with surgical treatments, such as flap surgery, to close the gap between the gums and the tooth. During flap surgery, the dentist makes an incision into the gums, lifts the gums, and cleans the root of the tooth. The gums are stitched into place. Your dentist can also perform a gum or bone graft if you’ve lost significant gum tissue or bone.
Once you get these treatments, you can promote healing and lessen any discomfort by avoiding these trigger foods:
Acidic foods. Acidic foods, such as pickles, citrus fruits, and black coffee, accelerate the growth of bacteria. They also increase gum inflammation, which lessens the chance of a good outcome from the treatments.
Sugary foods. You know sweets cause tooth decay, but it also harms your gums. Limit candy and surgery beverages. But also look for hidden sugars in other foods, such as white bread and fruit yogurt.
Cold foods. Periodontal disease exposes the nerves in your teeth and gums. You stimulate those nerves when you drink or eat cold foods or beverages, which can cause intense pain.
Besides avoiding certain foods, you can supplement professional gum disease treatments with a well-rounded dental hygiene routine of daily brushing and flossing. Cutting down on sweets and quitting cigarettes can help, too.
Lastly, regular dental checkups allow your dentist to start therapy at the earliest signs of gum disease or tooth decay.
Don’t neglect your gums!
Schedule an appointment at Espire’s La Jolla location today! Our highly trained dentists can check your gums for any signs of periodontal disease and start treatment immediately. Don’t live near our La Jolla, CA, office? Find one of our other locations near you.
La Jolla, CA
7776 Ivanhoe Ave.
La Jolla, CA 92037