Stabilize Receding Gums with Whole Foods
Are you growing ‘long in the tooth’?
The underlying cause of gum disease is nutrient deficiency in your body which causes inflammation and bone loss in gums. Gum recession is often the first symptom to be noticed. Receding gums don’t have to lead to gingivitis or periodontal disease. You can manage gum health with natural and self-help strategies.
You can help to stabilize receding gums and gingivitis with the teeth healing diet plus three special gum healing foods.
Disclaimer: This information is provided for educational purposes only. Please consult your health practitioner and use common sense. Terms and conditions here.
The gums are made up of
- gum tissue which is the pink skin around your teeth
- periodontal ligament which consists of lots of microscopic strands of cartilage that connect your tooth into the socket
- alveolar bone which is the section of the jaw and palate which includes the sockets that hold the teeth in place
- cenentum which is the outer layer of the tooth below the gum line where the periodontal ligament connect the tooth to the alveolar bone
Giving the wrong message
Receding gums are often a source of shame becuase dentists and dental hygienists tell us that they are caused by not flossing enough.
The mainstream explanation of gum disease is that it is caused by inadequate oral hygiene leading to gingivitis causing bacterial toxins in plaque which stimulates a chronic inflammatory response known as gum disease or periodontitis.
That is why dentistry focuses on removing plaque and the tooth decay caused by bacteria. But plaque bacteria is not the underlying cause of receding gums or gum disease.
Eating right to stabilize receding gums
In 2010 new research summarised the consensus of periodontal science findings that most people’s bodies are able to respond to the bacteria in plaque without developing gum disease.
Not all bodies are vulnerable to plaque. In well nourished bodies, plaque doesn’t trigger gum disease because the most significant underlying influence on gum disease is actually the food we eat, not our oral hygiene habits.
Healthy gums are fed by nutrient-rich body fluids supplied through the circulatory and fluid systems.
Resilience to gum disease depends on a diet of whole foods that contain up to ten times more fat soluble vitamins and two to four times more minerals than in a normal modern diet.
The fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K are found most readily in animal fats and without them we are not able to absorb and use the minerals that we do eat. The teeth healing diet I summarise in my free Feed Your Teeth Guide outlines the foods that supply fat-soluble vitamins and other nutrients needed to prevent gum disease and tooth decay.
Feed Your Gums
Eating to heal and prevent gum disease is a little different than a diet targeting tooth decay as it involves a greater emphasis on vitamin C and minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, zinc, magnesium and iodine.
Recent research shows that an improved diet can have as positive effect on gum disease as scaling and root planing which is one of the common dental procedures for treating gingivitis.
Whether you are eating for your teeth or your gums, synthetic vitamins and minerals can help but they are not as effective as nutrients from whole foods and may have unintended side effects because they are so specific and isolated. Keep reading to learn about just three of the most effective whole foods that can help to stabilize receding gums.
Kelp is an balanced source of trace minerals including . It supports glandular function and balanced blood chemistry. Kelp also helps the body to utilize and metabolize food.
Kelp is a sea vegetable that is enjoyed in many traditional cuisines from China to the Hebredies. Kelp is sold in dried pieces, as powder or granules or processed into noodles. I prefer to eat it as a tasty condiment. Eating kelp as a whole food is much safer than taking kelp supplements which are so concentrated that you can overdose with iodine, sodium or heavy metals.
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of kelp powder or granules 4-6 days a week is sufficient for most people to keep gums healthy. I keep a jar of kelp granules on our dining table and sprinkle it onto cooked vegetables, salads and other savory dishes 4-5 times a week.
*Avoid kelp if you have a thyroid disorder, high blood pressure or heart failure.
Studies have shown that green tea reduces symptoms of gum disease including gum pocket depth, bleeding gums and attachment of gums to teeth.
Green tea contains catechin (aka epigallocatechin gallate or EGCG) which is an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial flavinoid. These are the properties that
Green tea also helps prevent tooth decay, inhibits the development of oral cancer and freshens your breath!
Drink no more than five cups of green tea every day to enjoy the benefits for your gums. The most healthy way to drink green tea is to make it with non-fluoridated water (i.e. spring or filtered water). Make it in a ceramic pot with water that has cooled for three minutes after boiling. Let it steep for three minutes before drinking.
*Green tea can cause stomach upsets in some people (like me).
Chewing on a handful of raw parsley every day supplies a significant dose of vitamin C as well as vitamin A, Vitamin K, Vitamin B12, Beta Carotene, Folic Acid and Iron- all nutrients that support gum health.
A mouthful of freshly picked parsley has the additional benefit of offering a great workout for the jaw, as chewing on the fibrous plant helps to strengthen and rebuild the bone.
*High doses of parsley should be avoided during pregnancy; if you are on blood-thinning medication or have kidney or gallbladder disease.