When it comes to your dental health, the health of your gums is just as important as that of your teeth. Since gum disease can cause the loss of bone and tissue that support the teeth, restoring and maintaining the health of your gums is important. There are several in-office procedures that can be used to treat periodontal disease, such as deep pocket cleaning and root scaling. However, there are also things that you can do at home (in addition to brushing and flossing) to improve the health of your gums, such as the following:
Oil pulling, which is the practice of pushing and pulling oil through your teeth and around your gums, is an ancient practice that can be used to improve gingival scores. Oil pulling can be performed with any healthy, edible oil, and you only need about 20 minutes to complete a session. Since you don't have to stand or sit still as you pull, you can easily incorporate oil pulling into your daily routine.
To start, place about a tablespoon of oil in your mouth and begin swishing it about. Continue for about 20 minutes and then release the oil into a trash can. Certain oils, such as coconut oil, may solidify at room temperature, so spitting the oil into a sink or toilet could eventually clog your plumbing.
The used oil contains oral bacteria that was trapped as you oil pulled, so it is important not to swallow it.
An oral irrigator can also be used to improve gum health. The device contains a water reservoir and a small hose connector with an attached nozzle through which the water flows.
The concentrated spray of water from the irrigator can significantly reduce bleeding and gingivitis. One four-week study that evaluated the effect of a water flosser on oral health found that, despite the type of toothbrush used by study participants, water flossing resulted in a gum-bleeding reduction of up to 93 percent, and the oral irrigator was 52 percent better than conventional floss at reducing gingivitis.
There are multiple things that you can do at home to protect and improve the health of your gums. However, if your gums are showing signs of disease, such as bleeding, chronic bad breath, receding gums or pain when chewing, you should contact a dentist for a consultation. Gum disease can be reversible with proper gum disease treatment.