Gum Disease Treatment Methods: Myths & Realities


Over the years, many at-home treatments and cures have been suggested for treating gum disease and gingivitis. However, many of them have since been rejected by dentists and scientists, with studies showing that they weren't helpful after all. Do you know what can and can't help improve your gingivitis? Read on to learn which treatments are a myth and which actually do help.

Baking Soda & Peroxide

Starting in the 1970s, dentists began to suggest that their patients brush their teeth and gums with a mixture of baking soda and peroxide to combat gingivitis. This method was called the Keyes Technique, and it was believed that the baking soda would help to reduce inflammation and acidity of the gums while peroxide would chip away at plaque and bacteria.

To this day, many toothpastes are manufactured with baking soda and peroxide in them, so it would seem like it's an effective treatment. In actuality, dentists have realized that brushing with baking soda and peroxide isn't any more effective than brushing your teeth with toothpaste.

It is worth pointing out that baking soda and peroxide can be used to brush your teeth if you don't have any toothpaste and will achieve the same result, but it doesn't do anything special to heal gingivitis. Toothpastes containing these two ingredients are also not more effective, but if you enjoy the bubbly clean feeling it produces, feel free to keep using it.

Flossing

In recent years, many tools have come out that are supposedly more effective at cleaning between the teeth: electric toothbrushes, mouthwash and water flossers, for example. One thing is true: you must remove plaque and bacterial build-up between your teeth and surrounding your gums to prevent and treat gingivitis. However, water flossers might actually be more effective than traditional flossing.

In 2005, the University of Nebraska released a study showing that water flossers were particularly effective for people with gingivitis and gum disease. A water flosser was 93% better at reducing bleeding and 52% better at reducing gum inflammation when compared to traditional floss. Studies have also found that it can remove plaque, and is particularly useful for people with braces or other dental implants that can't easily be cleaned with regular floss.

Dentists

Another common idea is that if you treat your teeth and gums well at home, you don't need to see a dentist for a bi-annual cleaning and checkup. This is actually false: while cleaning your teeth at home reduces plaque buildup and inflammation, you can't remove tartar with tools at home. When tartar flourishes, it can induce gum disease, cavities, tooth loss and bacterial infections that can spread to other parts of your body.

Your dentist can remove tartar buildup by scraping your teeth or using special ultrasonic dental tools that use vibrations to loosen tartar on your teeth and under your gumline.

The only way to prevent gingivitis is to keep your teeth and gums clean and to keep plaque build-up at a minimum. Thankfully, none of these choices are harmful to your oral health, but some are more helpful than others.

About Me

FAQs About Pregnancy and Dental Health

During pregnancy, expectant mothers have to deal with a host of changes to their bodies. I was surprised to learn that part of those changes is to your dental health. I was not aware that hormonal changes could mean an increased risk of gum infection and other dental problems. Luckily for me, my dentist was prepared to handle any problems that I experienced during my pregnancy. I created this blog to help other expectant mothers understand the changes that their dental health could experience throughout their pregnancies and the possible ramifications those changes could have on their pregnancies and the health of their unborn children.

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