Do you regularly go to the dentist? Probably not as often as you should. Most people visit the dentist to have their teeth cleaned or whitened. Gums tend to take the back seat compared to their white counterparts, but they are equally important. The state of your gums indicates the health of your teeth and has a profound effect on overall body health.
Healthy gums can help prevent various diseases in the body. Therefore, it is; essential to take care of your mouth to protect your overall health. Read on to learn how gums affect your overall health.
How Gum Disease Starts
Gums are tissues that surround and protect the teeth, teeth roots, and jawbones. Gums seal the teeth forming a protective layer against disease-causing bacteria (plaque). They are the supportive structure keeping teeth in place. Gums also prevent sensitivity, preserve bone mass, help reduce foul mouth odor, and support dental installation or restorations such as crowns and bridges.
Once bacteria make their way into deeper parts of your teeth, the structure of your teeth collapses. Leaving gums untreated paves the way for harmful bacteria to get into the bloodstream, causing inflammation, bleeding gums, and gum redness leading to periodontal disease.
The advanced stage of periodontal disease is periodontitis, which causes teeth to fall out by affecting the bones and tissues connected to your teeth. This affects the health of your teeth and overall body health by predisposing you to chronic medical conditions.
Inflammation is the link between gum disease and chronic health conditions. Maintaining healthy gums balances out the good and bad bacteria in the mouth, minimizing the risk of acquiring the periodontal disease.
Effects of Gum Disease On The Body
If you don’t take care of your teeth and gums by brushing daily or avoiding visiting the dentist regularly, you can build up to harmful bacteria in the mouth. Bacteria cause infections that can be easily treated if caught early. However, if left untreated, the infection spreads severely throughout the body.
Additionally, it can trigger the immune system to become hyperactive, putting you at risk of allergic reactions. Studies show that people suffering from periodontal disease are at risk of developing the following chronic medical conditions.
- Chronic respiratory disease
- Cardiovascular disease
- High blood pressure
- Pregnancy complications
- Alzheimer’s disease
The link between healthy gums and overall health is undeniable. Maintaining healthy gums is the best way to minimize the risk of developing medical conditions associated with gum disease. Other factors that may contribute to periodontal disease include:
- Illnesses like diabetes or heart disease may affect the state of the health of your gums.
- Some medications reduce saliva production, which helps protects teeth and gums.
- Smoking inhibits gum tissue repair
- A family history of dental disease may contribute to the development of gingivitis.
- Hormonal changes increase gum sensitivity, increasing the risk of developing gum disease.
Periodontal Disease Prevention
To prevent and manage gum disease, do the following:
Brush and floss consistently: Brush your teeth twice a day and floss at night. If you have wide spaces between your teeth or are fitted with bridges, implants, or mouth plates, you may use interdental brushes with tiny bristles at one end to clear trapped food particles.
Use mouthwash and fluoride toothpaste to protect your enamel and replace a worn-out toothbrush. Avoid sugary foods and drinks.
Quit smoking: Smoking dramatically affects the health of your teeth and gums. It greatly increases the chances of developing periodontal disease. This is because tobacco hinders the normal functioning of gum tissue cells. Smoking also promotes the production of bacterial plaque, which causes gum disease, tooth decay, and oral cancer. Quitting is the best way to improve oral health drastically.
Consume a healthy diet: A healthy diet helps minimize inflammation. Eat a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, nuts, and legumes, and take plenty of water.
Carrots, dairy products such as yogurt, cheese and milk, celery, apples, and onions are beneficial for dental health. A diet rich in fatty fish (omega 3) improves oral health and prevents further infection.
Get early treatment for gum disease: Learn the signs and symptoms of periodontal disease like swollen, bleeding gums, pus, gums that have pulled away from teeth, and ill-fitting dentures. If you are experiencing any of these signs, visit the dentist immediately.
Regular dental visits: Do not skip or avoid going to the dentist every 6months. Your dentist will clean and remove build-up plaque and check the overall health of your teeth, gums, and mouth. If you are suffering from gum disease, he will advise you on treating and managing the infection.
Healthy gums are vital to preventing gum disease and improving overall health. If you are experiencing any changes in your mouth like bleeding gums when brushing or mouth sores, visit Ross A. Kaplan, DMD, PC as soon as possible.