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 Herbal Medicine: Periodontal Disease 
What is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease is the inflammation and degeneration of the bone and gum structures that support your teeth. This pervasive disease, which can cause gums to recede and teeth to loosen, often begins as a bacterial infection which thrives between the gums and the teeth. Plaque, a material comprised of this bacteria, is responsible for much of the gum and tooth decay associated with periodontal disease. When you brush, rinse, and floss, the goal is to prevent plaque by removing this bacteria from between your gums and teeth.

Historically, periodontal disease has not been a natural part of the aging process. In fact, the primitive human did not suffer from periodontal disease. Nevertheless, periodontal disease affects about 20% of adults in the United States today.

What is Gingivitis?
Gingivitis is an inflammation characterized by red, tender, and swollen gums that tend to bleed. Although gingivitis almost always precedes periodontal disease, it does not always lead to periodontal disease. It is, however, an important cue and should prompt you to pay closer attention to your teeth. If you begin to experience symptoms of either gingivitis or periodontal disease, consider the following recommendations:

Diet for Healthy Teeth and Gums
Diet is the most important factor in sustaining good oral health. The avoidance of simple sugars is the place to start. Try chewing on whole grains and high-fiber foods to help sustain good teeth and gums. In fact, simply chewing a raw carrot will stimulate your teeth and gums.

Several studies have shown that dental cavities were not apparent in the teeth of the primitive human. Could this be because there were no Mars bars, cigarettes, alcoholic beverages, coffee, or stress? To the early man, stress consisted of foraging for food and shelter. Perhaps many of our contemporary vices drain vital nutrients, including vitamins and minerals, from our bodies? Chances are good that they do. In order to offset some of these effects, here is a simple, three-step dietary plan that will begin to pave the road to good oral health:

  1. Avoid refined sugars.
  2. Eat plenty of fiber.
  3. Thoroughly chew your food in order to stimulate your gums.
Dental Cleaning Tools
Many dentists advise changing your toothbrush two times each month. It is now believed that bacteria may cling to your poor, defenseless toothbrush and continue to infect your gums. You may prefer using an electric rotary toothbrush as a way to overcome this problem. In fact, studies have shown that these mechanical instruments remove 95% of plaque, versus 48% removed by hand brushing. Additionally, an oral irrigation device that thoroughly rinses your teeth, such as a water pic, is also beneficial for cleaning and promoting good oral health. And you should always remember to floss your teeth at least once daily.

Additionally, you may want to consider a rubber gum stimulator. Place the rubber point between the teeth. Rotate in a circular motion for about ten seconds. Some periodontists who practice natural medicine recommend mixing a small amount of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda, applying this to the gum line, and then using the rubber gum stimulator. The baking soda is cleansing as well as alkalizing. Many dental problems occur because the mouth is too acidic and baking soda changes the local "ph" of the tissue, helping to thoroughly cleanse the area.

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 About The Author
Janet Zand LAc, OMDJANET ZAND, O.M.D., L.Ac. is a nationally respected author, lecturer, practitioner and herbal products formulator whose work has helped thousands of people achieve better health....more
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