Ask the dentist: Brushing up on your gum health

An effective teeth cleaning regime goes a long way to fighting gum disease, but turbocharging your immune system is also vital, says Lucy Stock of Gentle Dental Care

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Lucy Stock

GUMS aren't that high on one's priority list until they start disappearing. Gum disease leaves a trail of destruction as it charges through mouths leaving gaps around teeth that are useful only to expert melon seed spitters.

Around 80 per cent of us are affected by it in a modest way, with another 10 per cent unlucky enough to experience the devastating effects of gum disease in its most belligerent form. The other 10 per cent are the lucky blinis that if they never brushed their teeth nothing would happen.

So, here's how to tip the scales and either prevent yourself suffering from gum disease or if you have it already, slow it down in its tracks; let battle commence. The majority - around 85 per cent - of the damage done to our gums is down to how our immune system interacts with the 'bad' bacteria that loiters around teeth.

The bugs are in the soft white plaque that forms around teeth, so becoming fabulous plaque removers, with any of the tooth cleaning products of your fancy, is tip number 1.

But that's only merely scratching the surface, we want to be considering how to boost our immune system so that it's in top fighting mode to deal with troublemaking bacteria.

We can boost our immune system in many ways. We have twice as many bacteria in our bodies than human cells which is, I always feel an odd concept, but they are there for a reason - they help to create health balance in our bodies.

The bacteria can be crudely split into good and bad bacteria, the good create health and the bad, disease. This means we can use this bacterial army to our advantage - so stocking up on pro and prebiotic foods will allow the good bacteria to flourish and fight off gum disease naturally.

We can also boost out immune systems by losing weight, reducing stress and doing more exercise. Studies have shown that there's a 15 per cent reduction in gum disease when we get fit.

Boosting our immune systems and maintaining healthy gums is also especially important in these Covid times.

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