July 12 2020 by Mills Haven Dental
If you've come through our doors, we've probably asked you the question "how often do you floss?" There’s a reason we keep asking! …
That’s a major reason to take care of them as best you can.
You can probably think of some common connections to gum disease off the top of your head, like bleeding and a sore mouth (duh).
But what about the big picture?
Poor gum health has connections to gum disease, lung disease, and even heart disease.
There are two main types of gum disease you should know about: Gingivitis and Periodontitis.
Gingivitis is an inflammation of your gums. This is usually caused by bacteria and plaque build-up around your gingiva, the gums that are touching your teeth.
Most of us are going to experience gingivitis at one point or another, and if treated quickly, it can be
taken care of before it causes any real problems… However, many people ignore gingivitis because the symptoms are often only slightly irritating. That’s a big mistake!
If neglected, gingivitis can lead to periodontitis.
Periodontitis comes in different stages. It’s important to know that this disease can seriously infect the gums and bones that support your teeth. When periodontitis gets bad, your gums may pull away from your teeth causing them to loosen and potentially fall out.
This dangerous gum disease can be connected to all kinds of life-threatening diseases, like lung and heart disease.
One thing to know is that the bacteria attacking your gums can also spread throughout the rest of your body, including your lungs. The American Thoracic Society has explored how people with existing lung issues can have their disease worsen as a result of poor gum health. People with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) can have a worsening in lung inflammation if gum disease is left untreated.
Experts and doctors have long debated whether gum disease can cause heart disease, but they do agree that there is a connection between plaque on our teeth and the plaque in our arteries.
Harvard Medical School tells us that people with gum disease “have two to three times the risk of having a heart attack, stroke, or [another] serious cardiovascular event.” However, many people with heart disease also have excellent gum health. What does that mean? More research is needed, but for now, we recommend taking care of your gums to take care of your heart, too.
Sometimes gum disease is out of our control. Different medications, hormonal changes (hello, pregnant people), various illnesses (like diabetes), and hereditary genes can all be factors of gum disease.
The best way to get ahead of gum disease is to prevent it as much as possible:
Regularly floss & brush your teeth (we bet you saw that one coming).
Quit smoking immediately. The CDC tells us that smokers are 2 times more likely to develop gum disease than a non-smoker.
Visit us once or twice every year! Make sure you tell us anything new that’s going on with your overall health, no matter how seemingly unrelated.