Every dentist will try to tell you to brush your teeth two times a day, but did you know it’s just as essential to brush your gums when brushing your teeth? Gum disease is associated with a variety of serious health conditions in men and women. You can lower your risk of gum disease by taking proper care of your gums. This enhance your general well-being and reduces the danger of certain severe illnesses.
The origins of gum disease
Bacteria found in plaque and tartar are the cause of gum disease. Plaque is that sticky film you get on your teeth after a long day. It consists mainly of bacteria, mucus, food and other debris. When the plaque is not eliminated, it becomes hard, forming tartar deposits. Plaque and tartar bacteria trigger gum inflammation, also known as gingivitis. Tartar can only be removed by a dental professional.
Gum disease has three distinct stages:
You might experience red, swollen, tender gums which bleed easily. When captured in the early stages, a brushing and flossing programme can usually reverse these symptoms.
- Mild to moderate periodontitis
If left to develop, gingivitis leads to more inflammation and bleeding around the tooth. Gums also start to move further away from the teeth and you might see some early bone loss around the teeth. At this time, treatment is vital in order to avoid further damage.
- Advanced periodontitis
Teeth can be so loose at this stage that they need to be removed if treatment does not restore bone support.
Some common symptoms of gum disease in general include bad breath, swollen and/or receding gums, and loose teeth. If you notice all of these symptoms with your teeth, see a dental professional immediately.
How gum disease could affect the whole body
Gum disease isn’t only bad news for your teeth. Studies suggest that oral bacteria and severe gum disease might lead to in certain diseases that are not usually mouth-related, including:
- Endocarditis. This infection of the inside lining of the heart chambers or valves (endocardium) usually happens when bacteria or other germs from another part of your body, like the mouth, enter your bloodstream.
- Cardiovascular disease. Some research suggests that cardiac disease, obstructs arteries and stroke could be linked to inflammation from bacteria in the mouth.
- Pregnancy and birth complications. There has been a recent link between severe gum disease and a low birth weight.
- Pneumonia. Bacteria from the mouth can enter the lungs, which could cause pneumonia and other respiratory diseases.
How to prevent gum disease
The best ways to reduce the risk of gum disease either prevent bacteria from infecting in the first place, or they help reduce the inflammation from existing present bacteria:
Regular dental hygiene. At least twice a day, brush your teeth and floss before bedtime. You may want to use interdental brushes — toothpick-like tools with small bristles at one end— to clear trapped food if you have bridges, implants, or broad spaces between your teeth.
Refrain from smoking. Those who smoke half a pack of cigarettes a day are nearly three times more likely to have gum disease than non-smokers, and those who smoke more than a pack and half of cigarettes a day are nearly six times more likely to have gum disease.
Eat a good diet. A diet high in vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts and fatty fish not only supplies all the vital nutrients, but it also helps to repress inflammations. There is some proof that the risk of gum disease is reduced for individuals whose diets are high in omega-3 fatty acids contained in fatty fish such as sardines and mackerel.
Go to your dentist regularly. Your dentist can remove plaque and detect the first signs of gum disease.
When you discover gum disease, treat it at once. The most dramatic signs are swollen and bleeding gums, pus pockets, or gums that have pulled away from your teeth. Subtler variations, such as widening spaces between your teeth, and bridges or partial dentures that do not fit as well as they once did, may also signal an inflammation.
If you think your mouth may be showing signs of gum disease, come see us for a check-up at JC Dentist. We can offer advice without judgment and discuss treatment options with you. Contact us today for an appointment.