It’s estimated that about half the adult population has some degree of gum disease and although there is some evidence that gum disease is hereditary, the main cause is not removing the plaque that forms on our teeth and gums.
To combat plaque you simply have to know how develop a good brushing technique.
If you brush your teeth effectively you’re a long way forward in keeping your gums healthy. If you add in a daily flossing routine you really do give yourself the best chance of keeping gum disease at bay. Research claims that only 5% of us are flossing effectively so, as with brushing, it’s very important you develop the correct method to get the best results.
You need to clean all 4 surfaces of a tooth to prevent plaque building up. Some people struggle with brushing and/or flossing between the gaps in their teeth and find interdental brushes helpful. They have small bristled heads specially designed to clean between teeth.
Please note: Consult your dentist before trying interdental brushes; the brush size is very important as you should never try to force a brush into a space between your teeth. It may be you need several different size brushes if you have varying gap sizes between your teeth; your dentist will be able to advice you if inter-dental brushes are going to help you and what size of brushes you need.
It seems exercise promotes good gum health because it quickens blood flow. Better circulation decreases the amount of C-reactive protein in the blood, thereby lessening inflammation in the body, including in the gums.
Exercise also helps regulate blood sugar, and this includes blood sugar that feeds bacteria of the gums.
One study found that those who exercise regularly from one to three times per week were up to 1/3 less likely to show signs of gum disease. Those who exercise vigorously three times per week or moderately at least five times per week reduced their chances of developing gum disease by 50%. These findings were based on a comparison to people who participate in no physical activity at all.
If you can’t exercise for whatever reason, I shouldn’t be overly concerned, the twice daily removal of plaque by brushing is far more important for healthy teeth and gums.
A study from the Journal of Dentistry found that people who had never smoked and who exercised regularly “were about 54% less likely to have periodontitis than those who didn’t exercise. Former smokers who exercised had a 74% lower risk! Alas for current smokers, exercise did nothing to improve their dental health. I can only assume that the benefits of exercise are counterbalanced by the effects of smoking.
People who smoke are more likely to have gum disease. Smoking may change the type of bacteria in dental plaque, increasing the number of bacteria that are more harmful. It also reduces the blood flow in the gums and supporting tissues of the tooth and makes them more likely to become inflamed. Smokers’ gum disease will get worse more quickly than in people who do not smoke. Because of the reduced blood flow smokers may not get the warning symptoms of bleeding gums as much as non-smokers. Gum disease is still a major cause of tooth loss in adults.