The Link Between Gum Disease and Health Risks

gum disease DallasBrushing and flossing daily coupled with visits to the dentist every six months contribute to healthy teeth and gums. There are other factors involved in maintaining great oral health, and in doing so reducing many health risks. Gum disease can occur in patients of all ages; knowing the symptoms allows the patient to seek help from their dental provider or a periodontist.

Some of the symptoms that the onset of gingivitis (gum disease) or the more serious condition, periodontitis, may be present include:

Bleeding gums – Healthy gum tissue does not bleed without provocation. If you aggressively brush with a hard bristle toothbrush, you may cause your gums to bleed. This is unhealthy for a few reasons … you do not need to scrub vigorously to clean your teeth. You may be brushing away protective dental enamel and could be causing gum recession. Use a soft bristle toothbrush and moderate pressure to brush your teeth (an electric toothbrush is ideal). If gums continue to bleed, this may be a sign of gum disease.

Red, swollen gum tissue – Healthy gums are pink and firm.

Chronic bad breath – Many foods and beverages can result in bad breath; but if your bad breath continues or has more of a sour smell, you may have some type of infection brewing.

Chewing discomfort – If you experience pain when chewing, you likely have some type of dental problem. If teeth feel loose or appear to be pulling away from gums, you need to seek help right away to prevent the possibility of tooth loss.

More and more research continues to point out the links between oral health and overall health. Each one contributes to the other. Therefore, in order to maintain good overall health, it is imperative to have good oral health.

Heart disease, illnesses of the immune system (diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease), respiratory diseases, stroke … all of these medical conditions may be linked to patients with gum disease.

Gum disease is largely preventable … a regimen of daily brushing and flossing coupled with regular six month visits to the dentist (or periodontist) provide a base for needed dental care. Fruits, vegetables, proteins, dairy, and healthy grains should comprise the majority of the daily diet. Don’t smoke and limit sugary consumables that contribute to plaque buildup on teeth (both can lead to gum disease).

If you have questions, contact the office of Dr. Crump today.

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