Healthy gums are very important. Your gums hold your teeth in place and provide structure to your mouth. However, a person’s gums are fragile, and bad things can happen when they’re damaged. Without proper care, you may develop gum disease, and a few foods may greatly increase your risk of developing gingivitis or periodontitis. You shouldn’t have to deal with damaged gums, so take a look at these four foods that you should avoid to keep your gums healthy.

What Is Gum Disease?

Gum disease is an infection of your gums that occurs when they’re exposed to bacteria and plaque for long periods. Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease. When you have gingivitis, you may notice reddening of the gums, soreness, tenderness, and bleeding. When left untreated, gingivitis eventually progresses to periodontitis.

Individuals suffering from periodontitis will notice their gums receding, and they may feel more tenderness and pain. Eventually, the gums will recede so much that some teeth will start loosening and falling out. At this stage, surgery may be necessary to correct the damage. However, with proper oral hygiene and smart food choices, gum disease is preventable and reversible at earlier stages.

Four Foods That Are Bad for Your Gums

Popcorn

When’s the last time that you ate popcorn without getting a bunch of kernels stuck in your teeth and gums? These kernels are covered in butter and salt, and they can easily become lodged between all of the nooks and crannies that you can’t reach with your toothbrush. Salt and butter can seriously irritate your gums, and this is especially true if they’re stuck in your gums for several hours or days. Moreover, your saliva will break popcorn down into sugar, making your mouth a breeding ground for bacteria. Thus, if you eat popcorn often, then you’re subjecting your gums to serious punishment, which may result in gingivitis.

Refined Carbohydrates

Pasta, white bread, and other processed carbohydrates aren’t only bad for your waistline, but they’re also bad for your teeth. Your saliva quickly converts these processed carbohydrates into sugar, and these foods easily get stuck between your teeth and in your gums. Consequently, individuals with a diet rich in refined carbohydrates are more likely to suffer from gum disease. For many people, cutting out carbs altogether is unthinkable. However, you can improve your overall health and decrease your risk of gum disease by substituting refined carbs with whole grains and more complex carbohydrates.

Candy

Nothing beats a tasty chocolate bar. However, chocolate and other candies do a number on your teeth and gums. Candy is full of sugar, so it’s like a smorgasbord for bacteria. Because of this, candy can harm your gums. Moreover, regular consumption of candy can lead to some nasty cavities, so you should try to enjoy such sweet treats sparingly.

Acidic Foods

Your gums are sensitive, so certain foods can easily tear them apart. Pickles, oranges, and other acidic foods can damage your gums and cause them to recede. When your gums are damaged, bacteria will grow around them and make it harder for them to heal. Acidic foods can also damage your enamel and cause discoloration, so if you want a bright smile, then you should lay off the pickles and citrus fruits.

How To Prevent Gum Disease

Gum disease becomes harder to reverse as it progresses, so prevention is of the utmost importance. Aside from lowering your sugar intake and eating fewer acidic food items, you should also practice proper dental hygiene every day. This means that you should brush your teeth twice per day and floss before your final brushing session.

Flossing will remove most of the sugar and bits of food between your teeth that cause gum disease. Thus, you should not forget to floss every day. On top of a good diet and proper dental hygiene habits, it’s important to regularly visit a reliable dentist in your area. Your dentist will perform routine cleanings and identify any problems before they get out of hand, so you can avoid pain while saving a ton of time and money.