Gum Disease: What Works And What Doesn’t?When it comes to gum disease, there is no shortage of advice and “magical solutions”.

So a new study published in the Journal of the International Academy of Periodontology put these methods to a test and found out what actually works and which ones simply waste time.

Researchers at the State University of New York at Buffalo searched through medical journals and reviewed the available studies on basic dental care.

The following cleaning methods are backed by their research:

1. Brushing your teeth twice a day to remove dental plaque.
2. Using interdental brushes and triangular wood sticks or water picks.
3. Using mouth washes containing chlorhexidine gluconate (a medication that can cause severe allergic responses), cetylpyridinium chloride (a type of medication that can stain your teeth), Listerine, or antibacterial and anti-inflammatory essential oils like lemongrass, tea tree, eucalyptus, thyme, clove, rose, and peppermint.
4. While interdental toothpicks don’t combat gum inflammation, gentle probing with one can help diagnose bleeding and gum disease.

They also found many common cleaning methods on which the research was mixed or undecided. These methods have not been proven to be ineffective, so let’s just call them unproven:

1. Flossing can work for people who have very small spaces between their teeth, but it’s not clear that flossing works for most people.
2. Electric or powered tooth brushes work just as well as normal tooth brushes, so they don’t hold any extra benefit.
3. Medicines like sodium benzoate, stannous fluoride, hexetidine, and hydrogen peroxide.
4. Probiotics.
5. Dietary supplements.
6. Antioxidants.
7. Smoking cessation.
8. Scaling, which is the professional removal of plaque with a scraper.

The scientists found that triclosan was definitely harmful, as it can cause cancer, notwithstanding its ability to combat inflamed gums and bacterial plaques. It has now been removed from most tooth pastes.

For the same reason, it is probably a bad idea to use the other synthetic drugs like chlorhexidine gluconate and cetylpyridinium chloride, just in case they may later turn out to have serious side effects too.

Therefore, if you brush your teeth every day with a normal toothbrush and use an interdental brush to remove difficult-to-reach plaque, you are off to a good start.

But if you really want to get rid of your gum disease and save your teeth, you absolutely must follow the simple lifestyle changes explained here. Thousands of readers have already successfully done so…