Almost 75 percent of us have gum disease right now, making it the most common health hassle nationwide. And reversing this problem — or preventing it if your gums are currently healthy — can keep your mouth
pain-free, cut your risk of cancer and heart woes 40 percent and add 13 disease-free years to your life.
The connection? When your gums are in good shape, oral bacteria can’t sneak into your bloodstream, damaging tissues and weakening immunity throughout your body. Follow these tips.
Take Coenzyme Q10.
Up to eight in 10 people with gum disease are deficient in
coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), a vitamin-like compound that strengthens and heals hurt tissues, say University of Texas scientists.
Clinical studies show taking 150 mg. to 200 mg. of CoQ10 like this one from Nutrazest ($12.95, Amazon) daily can cut your healing time 33 percent, plus reduce your risk of future gum problems 83 percent or more.
Drink licorice root tea.
Licorice root is brimming with powerful antibacterial compounds that help zap the troublesome bacteria that cause gum disease, reveals UCLA research. Just two six-ounce cups daily will do the trick. The tea, which is naturally sweet, is available in tea bags at most health food stores; brew according to the package directions.
Try this one from Buddha Teas ($7.80, Amazon).
Have some chocolate.
Enjoying two ounces of dark chocolate daily or drinking an eight-ounce mug of hot cocoa — in place of other sweets could cut your risk of gum disease in half, a Japanese study suggests. Cocoa slows the growth of oral bacteria and reduces inflammation, the culprit behind gum bleeding and swelling, 25 percent or more, says Joseph C. Maroon, M.D..
Mouth bacteria produce gum-damaging acidic wastes — which full-fat cheese quickly neutralizes. The result: As much as a 50 percent drop in your risk of gum redness, irritation and sensitivity if you eat 2 oz. daily. “Milk and yogurt are also protective,” says Jeffrey Gross, D.D.S., medical director of The Healthy Smile in Eastlake, Ohio. “Their calcium helps strengthen your gums in the same way it strengthens your bones.”
Take grape seed extract.
If your gums are still tender and swollen, or bleed when brushed, take a grape seed extract. It’s so toxic to mouth bacteria — but not
to you! — that supplementing with 200 mg. daily starts killing off the
troublemakers within 48 hours of the first dose.
Try this one from Bronson ($19.99, Amazon).
This article originally appeared in our print magazine.