Your oral health is known as a window to your overall health placing even greater emphasis on good oral hygiene practices. To understand how gum disease can affect wellness, let’s explore what gum disease is, how it can harm the body, and ways to protect and improve your oral health.
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is the result of a buildup of plaque, a colorless, sticky film that forms on everyone’s teeth. If plaque isn’t removed by brushing and flossing, it will harden into tartar that is difficult to remove. It is the bacteria in the plaque that creates toxins, which irritate and cause inflammation of the gums.
Gum disease starts as gingivitis and can progress to chronic periodontitis. In both cases, the presence of the toxins, caused by plaque, erode gum tissue causing it to pull away from teeth. It is the gaps or pockets that form that fill with food particles, which produce more plaque and bacteria. Unfortunately, left untreated gum disease will cause pockets to deepen more and bacteria then destroys the supporting bone.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than half of adults in America have gum disease and suffer from periodontitis, ranging from mild to severe.
How Gum Disease Affects the Body
In addition to poor oral health practices, gum disease can be caused by diet, smoking, stress, autoimmune diseases, uncontrolled diabetes, and more. It is often a combination of other illnesses that can worsen gum disease or gum disease that affects the body’s health.
- Diabetes: Gum disease may increase blood sugar levels in people with and without diabetes. Likewise, people with uncontrolled diabetes are at an increased risk of gum disease because the body’s resistance to infection is lowered.
- Endocarditis: An infection of the inner lining of the heart is known as endocarditis as is caused by bacteria within the body spreading in the bloodstream. Gum disease can increase the risk or worsen endocarditis.
- Immune Disorders: Because people with autoimmune disorders, such as leukemia, can’t combat infection, they are at increased risk of gum disease or gum disease can worsen.
Ways to Protect Against Gum Disease
Periodontal disease symptoms include bad breath, red or inflamed gums, bleeding gums, loose teeth, pain when chewing or gums that have pulled away from the teeth. While several risk factors increase the chance of getting gum disease, there are simple steps everyone can take to protect themselves.
Good oral hygiene and regular dental checkups and cleaning can control gum disease. Brush and floss every day to remove food particles and bacteria in the mouth and around teeth. Visit the dentist at least twice each year for a checkup and professional cleaning. For more severe periodontal disease, deep dental cleaning can stop the advancement of the disease.
To learn more and to set up an appointment for a checkup and cleaning, contact North Boulder Dental! Our team of experienced dentists provides caring, thorough, and personal care for individuals and families in Boulder and beyond. We are here to help you achieve excellent oral health!