Beautiful smiling African American woman holding dental floss cleaning teeth

Gum Disease and its Connection to Your Overall Health

Gum Disease: Beautiful smiling African American woman holding dental floss cleaning teeth

September is National Gum Care Month. Let’s explore how your gums are an important indicator of your health status and also learn ways to avoid gum disease.

How Gum Disease Occurs

Poor gum health and many chronic diseases are connected, according to various studies. Take a closer look in the mirror and the sink the next time you brush and floss your teeth for clues about your health. Gingivitis, gum disease in its early stage, causes swollen, red gums that may bleed, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

More serious gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, occurs when the gums pull away from your teeth, causing the formation of pockets between the tooth and gum. Food often gets stuck there, which combines with bacteria in your mouth and causes inflammation. Once that happens, gum disease often sets in.

Gum Disease Can Lead to Other Disease

Scientists aren’t exactly sure about the cause and effect between gum disease and other chronic illnesses, but they do see the link. Some include diabetes, osteoporosis, kidney disease, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, and asthma.

A graphic showing the stages of periodontal (gum) disease.
A graphic showing the stages of periodontal (gum) disease.

There are even some studies that link poor oral health in pregnant women to premature birth and low birth rate. WebMD cites a study, which reported that “people with serious gum disease were 40% more likely to have a chronic condition on top of it.”

The problem is likely related to inflammation or infection. If your body is busy fighting problems in one area (say, your gums), it could be more challenging to fight issues in other areas. For instance, when your gums fight inflammation, your body’s ability to control blood sugar is weakened, which is how gum disease and diabetes are connected.

In addition, 91% of patients with heart disease also have gum disease, as noted by WebMD.

Gum Disease Treatment with Personalized Patient Care

Palos Heights Family Dental patients who are diagnosed with periodontal disease receive a personalized cleaning schedule, beyond the typical six-month regimen, that’s specifically designed to treat the disease. Contact our team to learn more.

Focus More Care On Your Gums

Of course, many other factors could cause you to develop a chronic illness, including family history. However, you can be proactive in decreasing your chances of developing a chronic disease by properly caring for your gums and teeth. As a bonus, it’s easy and not time-consuming!

Don’t Skip Brushing or Flossing

We get how it happens. You’re in bed with a good book and finally ready to sleep. You turn off the light and snuggle into your pillow, but then realize, you forgot to brush your teeth. You figure, “what’s the harm? It can wait until morning.”

But this is exactly how the bad habit starts. Then, it adds up over the weeks that follow.

You should brush twice daily with fluoride toothpaste for at least two minutes.

Also, be sure to use an antibacterial mouthwash and floss. When it comes to flossing, the American Dental Association recommends you use approximately 18 inches of floss each time.

Lastly, schedule and keep your regular dental checkups. Most people only need to go once or twice a year, but if you’re pregnant or a person with diabetes, you might want to go more often.

Bonus Tips for Good Oral Health

What’s good for your gums is also good for the rest of your body.

  • Eat a healthy diet and take extra caution by limiting the amount of sugary foods and drinks you consume.
  • Avoid cigarettes and chewing tobacco. The U.S. National Library of Medicine reported, “smokers usually have a much better chance of quitting with a support program.” Do you need help with quitting? If so, several organizations are ready to assist.
  • Replace your toothbrush every three to four months. If it’s starting to look worn out, it’s time for a new one. You’ll notice an immediate difference the next time you brush your teeth. Trust us, it will feel so good!

To schedule your next visit, complete our contact form or call our office at (708) 448-­7588.

Gum Disease and its Connection to Your Overall Health was last modified: September 1st, 2022 by Palos Heights Family Dental