Far too many U.S. adults end up with gingivitis or a more advanced form of periodontal (gum) disease like periodontitis. A large proportion of cases are preventable with good oral care and good health habits.
The fact is, gum health is much more important than most Americans realize. There are strong correlations between gum and oral health and your overall body health.
Thus, there are many good reasons to pay attention to your gums and not to delay getting laser periodontal treatment or another form of periodontal treatment from your local periodontist if you do develop gum disease.
How Gum Health Impacts Your Total Oral Health
When most people think of oral health, their mind immediately goes to teeth. But that’s only one piece of the puzzle. Gums are no less important to oral health than teeth – and poor gum health can ultimately lead to cavities, root canals, or even tooth loss.
When gum tissue becomes the surface on which thousands of harmful bacteria colonize, it leads to gum infections, “pink in the sink,” pain and swelling of the gums, and a receding gum line.
When gum tissue pulls back, it exposes more of your tooth roots, which increases the chances of your getting cavities. Cavities in tooth roots often lead to a root canal or the loss of the tooth. If gum disease is allowed to fester long enough, it can weaken the bone structure underlying teeth until they loosen up and eventually fall out.
Additionally, poor gum health causes bad breath! The bacteria in your mouth release gases with unpleasant odors as they feed on food particles, plaque, teeth, and gums. Chronic bad breath, known as “halitosis,” is yet an additional way in which poor gum health creates poor total oral health.
“Sick Gums” Are a Barometer To The Rest Of Your Body
Another factor to take into account is that when something is wrong in another part of your body, your gum tissue is more likely to get an infection. That is why those with certain forms of diabetes, for example, often are diagnosed with gum disease.
Many diseases weaken the body’s ability to resist infections, which is why you then end up with gum problems on top of the underlying problem. By contrast, healthy gums are a good sign that your overall body health may be doing quite well.
But the relationship between gum health and body health isn’t just one-way. Not only can gum health be impacted by other conditions, but there is evidence that poor gum health can actually increase the risks of getting certain conditions. It may even contribute to some diseases, though studies are still ongoing in that regard.
Poor Gum Health Increases Your Risk Of Other Conditions
What other health conditions may be related to gum disease? Here is a list of the most commonly correlated conditions:
- Heart disease. It is thought that bacteria from infected gum tissue can spread to the endocardium (the inner lining of various parts of the heart) and contribute to the development of endocarditis. There may also be a connection between gum health and increased risk of clogged arteries and strokes.
- Out of control diabetes. While having diabetes can increase the risk of getting gum disease, gum disease can in turn make it more difficult to control your diabetes. Diabetic bouts can become more severe and more common as a result of gum disease.
- Pneumonia. Bacteria from the gums may make their way into the lungs, which can contribute to various respiratory problems, including pneumonia.
- Alzheimer’s Disease has also been shown to be linked in some ways to poor gum health. Oral health deteriorates as Alzheimer’s gets worse.
- There is an increased risk of premature births, low-weight births, and birth defects when a pregnant mother has gum disease.
- Rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren’s Syndrome, osteoporosis, and certain forms of cancer can also be related to gum disease in some respects.
Take Action Now To Protect Or Restore Your Gum Health!
There are some factors that make gum disease more likely that may be genetic or that you may be able to do little about. But there are other things that you can do to maintain or reclaim good gum health.
Practicing good dental hygiene, including for dental appliances like dentures, dental implants, and bridges, is key. Eating a high-nutrient and low-sugar diet is another major step. Seeing a dentist and a periodontist at least once a year for a checkup is yet a further action you can take to protect your gum health.
But if your gums are already in poor shape, there is hope! Modern periodontal treatment – especially laser periodontal treatment, has a great track record of restoring good gum health.
Laser periodontal treatment can remove the infected gum tissue while avoiding loss of still-healthy tissue adjacent to it. Laser periodontal treatment can also eradicate harmful bacteria so as to greatly lower re-infection rates. Additionally, laser gum surgery is convenient – you can have it done in a single dental visit in most cases, cost-effective, and has a relatively quick and painless recovery process.
To learn more about the many benefits of modern laser periodontal treatment or to discuss your gum health with an experienced local periodontist in Central Florida, contact Ormond Beach Periodontics & Implant Dentistry today!