Why Gums Are Important to Your Dental Health

In Dental Health by Dr. Mathew Palmer

How often do you think of your gum health? Probably not much, but you’re not alone. Many people give a low priority to the health of their gums. Yet gum health has the potential to affect the health of other parts of your body.

The gums are composed of a soft skin that protects the teeth’s bones. The tissue forms a tight shield around your teeth that reinforces your bones and stops bacteria from entering.
If plaque is not eliminated, toxins that irritate and inflame the gums can be released and cause a disease known as gingivitis. Gingivitis may evolve into periodontal disease if not treated. This is a gum infection which can damage and slowly degrade the gums and the bones around your teeth gradually.

In fact, nearly 75% of Americans have gum disease but they might be not aware of it, says the American Dental Hygienists ‘ Association.

What’s the connection between oral health and overall health?

Your mouth is full of bacteria but it is mostly benign. But as your mouth is the entry point to your digestive and respiratory systems, some of these bacteria can cause gum disease.  The maintenance of proper oral health, such as routine brushing and flossing, can keep the destructing bacteria at bay. However, excessive bacteria that can lead to oral infections such as tooth decay and genetic disease can occur without proper oral hygiene.

Many medications, for example decongestants, antihistamines, painkillers, diuretic drugs, and antidepressants, can also reduce the flow of saliva. This substance is essential in washing away food and neutralizing bacterial acids from the mouth to shield you from bacteria that grow and cause disease.

Research suggests that in some diseases, oral bacteria and inflammation with a serious form of gum disease may play a role. Some illnesses, including diabetes and HIV / AIDS, can also reduce bodily infection tolerance and make oral health issues even worse.

How do I know when my gums are healthy?

Many people sometime in their lives encounter the effects of gum disease. Healthy gums are pink and tight, and they certainly don’t bleed. Gum disease can produce gums that are sore, swollen, tender or bleeding, and you might have bad breath and find it hard to chew food easily.

How can I prevent gum disease?

You are one of the fortunate ones if you are healthy with your gums – just 1 in every 4 adults aged 35 years and older have healthy gums. Nevertheless, you should take simple steps to improve and protect your gum health.

The following are still the best ways to mitigate the risk of gum disease, either by avoiding bacterial infections or to reducing inflammation.

  • Regular brushing and flossing. By brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing at bedtime, you’ll stand the best chance of reducing your chances of gum disease.
  • Quit smoking. People who smoke up to ten cigarettes per day are about three times more prone to developing periodontitis than non-smokers. This is yet another reason to kick the habit.
  • Maintain a healthy diet. A healthy Mediterranean-type diet can helps prevent inflammation. Studies have also shown a reduced risk of periodontal disease for those whose diets are rich in the omega-3 fatty acids in fatty fish.
  • See your dentist regularly. Your dental hygienist can help remove the plaque associated with gum disease bacteria and identify the first indicators of periodontal disease.
  • Seek treatment when you notice signs of gum disease. If you notice swollen or excessively bleeding gums, it’s time to get yourself treated.

Palmer Dental

We hope we have convinced you that maintaining good gum health is an investment in your overall health. By brushing and flossing regularly, and visiting the dentist, you can keep your gums healthy for years to come. Contact us as soon as an oral health problem arises, we can help identify periodontal disease and take decisive action to stop it.