Gingivitis is an early stage of gum disease, an infection of the tissues that surround and support the teeth. The cause is plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that forms on teeth and creates toxins that can damage gums. The bacteria also form acids from starchy foods, which can lead to tooth decay.
With gingivitis, gums become red and swollen and bleed easily. Fortunately, with proper care, you can reverse the disease process and prevent further damage both to the gums and, more importantly, to the bones that support your teeth. Here's how:
- If you smoke, quit. A study published in the May, 2000, issue of the Journal of Periodontology found that smokers are four times more likely than people who never smoked to have advanced gum disease. Smoking interferes with healing by restricting blood flow, making smokers less likely to respond to treatment and more likely to lose teeth.
- Take 100 mg. of coenzyme Q10 (60 mg. of the soft-gel variety) as well as my antioxidant formula daily. I also suggest taking a calcium supplement daily (500-700 mg divided into two or three doses).
- Be sure to brush your teeth twice a day and floss once a day. I recommend using a natural toothpaste containing myrrh (a natural antibacterial) or chlorine dioxide. I also suggest making a paste of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide and massaging it into your gums once a day. Leave it on for a few minutes, and then rinse your mouth with water.
- Be sure to get a dental check up every six months, and ask your dentist if you should consult a periodontist.
Andrew Weil, M.D.