Are Your Gums Healthy?
Keeping your gums healthy is an important part of your dental, and overall health. Research has shown that certain conditions like high cholesterol and diabetes, along with taking certain medications, can affect the health of your gums. Alternatively, people with gum disease are more prone to developing cardiovascular health problems. You should aim to keep your gums healthy. If you’re not sure where to start, follow these 3 tips from Dr. Ania.
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, in an infection of the tissues that hold your teeth in place. So what causes it? The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research explains that our mouths are full of bacteria, and when this bacteria meets mucus and other particles, it forms a sticky film on the teeth, which is what we know as plaque.
Having a good oral hygiene routine that includes brushing and flossing daily can get rid of plaque, however, if it’s not properly removed, plaque can turn into tartar that you can’t remove by brushing alone. When tartar forms, only a professional dental cleaning can remove it.
They explain that symptoms of gum disease can include:
- Bad breath that doesn’t go away
- Red and swollen gums
- Tender or bleeding gums
- Painful chewing
- Loose teeth
- Sensitive teeth
- Receding gums or longer appearing teeth
Who’s at Risk for Gum Disease?
A number of different factors can contribute to your risk of developing gum disease. The American Academy of Periodontology explains that the most common risk factors are:
Several studies have shown that older people have the highest likelihood of developing periodontal disease. In fact, studies from the CDC explain that over 70% of Americans 65 and older have periodontal disease.
Tobacco use is not only linked with serious conditions like cancer, lung, and heart disease, but it also puts patients at an increased risk for gum disease. Studies have shown that tobacco use is one of the most significant risk factors in the developing and progression of gum disease.
Studies have further shown that certain people are more genetically susceptible to developing gum disease. Despite having good oral hygiene, some people can be more likely to develop the condition based on hereditary factors.
Another risk factor that can make you more prone to a variety of serious health conditions is stress. If you are chronically stressed, you can be more likely to suffer from hypertension, cancer, and a number of other health issues. Further, it can also make it more difficult for your body to fit off infections, like gum disease.
Some medication, like oral contraceptives, antidepressants, and certain heart medicine, can affect your oral health. It’s important that you notify your dentist of all medications you currently take, just like you would tell your primary care physician.
Clenching or grinding your teeth
People who clench or grind their teeth put excess pressure on the supporting tissues of the teeth and could speed up the rate at which these periodontal tissues are destroyed.
Other systemic diseases
Systemic diseases like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis can interfere with your body’s inflammatory system and worsen the condition of your gums.
Poor nutrition and obesity
A poor diet could mean that you aren’t getting the nutrients your body needs to function properly, and it can make it more difficult for your body to fight off infection. Gum disease begins as an infection, so poor nutrition can worsen our condition.
Gum Disease and Your Health
Dr. Ania and our team pride ourselves in customizing every aspect of your care, even your cleanings. When you come in for your appointment, our team will fully examine your gum health and determine the best course of action dependent on your condition. Not only can your gum condition affect your oral health, but it can also affect your overall health. Researchers at Columbia University found that people with gum disease were more likely to suffer from arteriosclerosis, narrowing of the blood vessels that can cause a heart attack or stroke. Doctors looked at the bacteria in the mouths of nearly 700 men and women with no history of heart attack or stroke, as well as the width of their carotid arteries. The more bacteria the person had, the more likely they were to have narrowed arteries.
Protect your overall health by taking care of your gums with Dr. Ania today. Make an appointment with our team by giving us a call at (303)-872-9940.