Brushing and flossing just got a whole lot more important!
The link between gum disease and larger-scale health problems has always been suspected. While the American Dental Association has yet to make a definitive statement on the connection, emerging research suggests that it’s closer to being proven than many realize.
We say – why wait for an official statement? Seize the opportunity to take better care of your teeth and gums, and potentially your heart. The mouth is a window to the rest of the body, and the way you treat it dictates other areas of your health. Read on for more about the mouth-body connection, as well as what you can do to make sure your dental health is in top shape.
The Gum Disease / Heart Disease Link
With heart disease still one of the most pressing health problems in America, we’re always focusing on ways to lower cholesterol, manage blood pressure, improve blood flow, and keep our hearts in fighting shape. Maybe you’re eating a specific diet, exercising like crazy, or taking cholesterol medication. It’s time to add a new habit to the regimen: paying attention to your gums could be more crucial than you realize.
When plaque is allowed to build up on your teeth and gums, the soft tissues in the area become irritated. This leads to them swelling and pulling away from teeth. If disease progresses, bacteria-filled pockets form between teeth and gums. This combination of increased bacteria and oral swelling could lead to serious issues elsewhere in the body.
While experts aren’t certain why gum disease may cause problems elsewhere in the body, they think it may be due to migratory bacteria or inflammation. Oral bacteria may enter the bloodstream through wounds and increase plaque buildup. Additionally, when something is happening in the mouth (gums are swelling), other areas of the body may mimic this. A new study also suggests that bacteria responsible for periodontal disease behave in sinister ways, suppressing the immune system’s response to infection.
These potential tendencies, as well as many different studies, have led to proposed links between gum disease and:
- Heart disease
- Respiratory disease
How Healthy Gums Could Boost Your Longevity
Disease prevention is always the best course of action. This is especially true in uncertain cases like this one: why wait for researchers to inform you that gum disease triggers larger problems, when you could take better care of your gums today? Healthy gums not only support a beautiful smile, they help your teeth last, make you feel better about yourself, and allow you to spend less time in the dental chair.
Signs of Gingivitis to Watch Out For
Pay close attention to your smile to make sure gingivitis isn’t taking hold. Schedule regular dental exams with Dr. Michael Ricciardi so that your gums are exposed to an expert eye. One of the problems with gingivitis is that it can be tough to notice in its earliest stages. But if you do catch it, you can correct the plaque building and inflammation with some careful brushing, flossing, and medicated mouthwash.
Contact our office if you notice that your gums are:
Dark red or purple
Bleeding easily (not just when flossing, but throughout the day, whenever they’re touched)
Pulling away from your teeth
…Or if you’re noticing persistent bad breath. Taking fast action will keep the gingivitis from becoming a larger problem – and could keep your whole body healthier in the process. Just get in touch if you’re uncertain about changes taking place in your mouth.