When people think of their dental or oral health, most of them think about their teeth. That’s understandable because when you go to the dentist, everyone’s mostly working on your teeth and not your gums. Actually, the health of your gums has everything to do with the condition of your teeth, your mouth and even your overall health. Here are four reasons why keeping the gums in good shape helps keep you in good shape.
Reason Number One: Prevent Infection and Inflammation
If you think about it, there’s an intimate connection between your teeth and your gums. Healthy gums are firm, pain-free and hold your teeth tightly in their sockets. When a person does not regularly brush, floss and see their dentist, a sticky layer of bacteria called plaque builds up on their teeth and gradually hardens into tartar. If tartar and plaque are left on teeth, they encourage infection under the gums. The earliest stage of this gum infection is called gingivitis. That word simply means infection and inflammation of the gingiva – the scientific name of your gums. Your gums will be inflamed, red and puffy and will probably bleed when you brush or floss. If you start cleaning your teeth properly every day and seeing your dentist and hygienist regularly, you can probably reverse gingivitis and not suffer permanent damage.
Reason Number Two: Prevent Periodontal Disease
The second reason to keep gums healthy is that if gingivitis is not properly handled, periodontal disease, a far more serious problem, can develop. There is deeper infection and the gums begin to pull away from the teeth, creating empty pockets. These pockets are the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and are very difficult for patients to clean at home. Some improvement might be achieved by using a home irrigator to flush water into these spaces, but the best treatment is deep cleaning that only a dental hygienist or dentist can do.
Reason Number Three: Prevent Loss of Bone Mass and Teeth
The third reason is that if periodontal disease is not treated, some real damage can begin to accumulate. Toxins from the infection and the immune system’s assault on the bacteria begin to loosen the connective tissue that bonds the gums to the teeth. There will also start to be loss of bone mass. Bone loss and infected gums result in loose teeth that may eventually need to be removed. Gum abscesses can form. The longer gum infections last, the harder they are to treat.
Reason Number Four: Prevent Related Serious Health Problems
The fourth reason is that gum infections are associated with a greater risk of serious health problems. The infective material in the gums moves into the bloodstream or may be inhaled into the lungs. Health problems associated with periodontal disease include:
• Greater risk of developing heart disease
• More difficulty controlling blood sugar
• Greater occurrence of certain kinds of strokes
• Higher risk of respiratory problems and kidney, pancreatic and blood cancers
• In pregnant women, early delivery and low birth weight.
Gingivitis and periodontal disease are not that difficult to avoid. In fact, periodontal disease takes time to develop. Following a regular schedule of at home care and visits to your dental hygienist and dentist will go a long way to preventing these problems. Any person who already knows they have risk factors for heart disease, uncontrolled blood sugar or the other problems listed above would be very wise to consult their dentist to learn other methods of preventing gum disease.
It takes time for periodontal disease to develop, so simply by maintain a proper schedule of care and not neglecting your teeth, you stand a very good chance of never experiencing either gingivitis or periodontal disease. If you’re due for a visit, call us now to schedule your hygiene treatment or exam so we can support your effort to maintain your gum health. It’s even more important if there are any symptoms of disease. It’s vital we begin working with you immediately to reverse gum problems and get you back on the road to full health.
If you’re not currently taking good care of your teeth, we hope this blog article inspires you. No matter what your dental needs, please feel free to reach out to StarBrite Dental, the Office of Dr. Maryam Seifi, by calling (301) 770-1070 . Or you can fill out the form below.