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3150 North Elm Street, Suite 210
Greensboro, NC 27408
336-286-9897

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September 21, 2020

Why is it important to keep your gums healthy?

Most people know the drill - brush and floss your teeth twice a day to keep your mouth clean and healthy. Did you know that it is just as important that you brush your gums? Even if you are cavity-free that does not make you immune to gum disease and the effects it can have on your physical health.

The gums are made up of a soft skin designed to cover the bones of your teeth. The connective tissue forms a seal around your teeth to support the bones and provide a barrier to bacteria. Gum disease starts when plaque builds up under and along the gum line. If plaque is not removed, it can release toxins that inflame and irritate the gum.  This is called gingivitis and is the earliest stage of gum disease. If not treated, gingivitis can progress into periodontal disease, which causes damage to the bone and connective tissue around teeth, and in some cases tooth loss. 

Gingivitis and gum disease are preventable with proper oral care, but if left untreated, can affect your general health. According to Harvard Health Publications, “If your gums are healthy, you are less likely to suffer from diabetes, cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease, dementia, and pregnancy complications.”

Like other areas of the body, your mouth has a lot of bacteria - mostly harmless. However, your mouth is the entry point to your digestive and respiratory tracts, and some of these bacteria can cause disease. Your oral health might contribute to various diseases and other conditions such as:

Diabetes - Research suggests that treating gum disease can help improve blood sugar control in patients living with diabetes.  Practicing good oral hygiene and having professional deep cleanings done by your dentist can help to lower your HbA1c.

Cardiovascular disease - Oral health as a possible cause of heart disease has been debated for many years and more research is needed to understand it. However, some research suggests there is a correlation between inflammation caused by  oral bacteria and  heart disease, clogged arteries, and stroke.   

Chronic Respiratory Disease and Pneumonia - New research indicates that individuals with periodontal disease may have an increased risk of respiratory infections, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pneumonia, or acute bronchitis. Infection results when bacteria from the throat are inhaled into the lower respiratory tract.

Dementia - According to a report in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry, researchers have noticed a link between performance on memory tests and gum health. Study participants with periodontal disease consistently performed poorly in memory tests when compared to those with healthy gums.

Pregnancy complications - Periodontitis has been linked to premature birth and low birth weight.

Healthy gums are pink and firm, and they do not bleed. Diseased gums may be red, swollen, tender, or bleeding. You may have bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth. By taking care of your gums, you can improve your oral health as well as your overall health and reduce the risk of developing certain chronic diseases. Remember to follow good oral hygiene practices and schedule regular dental examinations for checkups and cleanings to maintain healthy gums.

Margaret Szott DDS, PA is a general and family dentist in Greensboro NC offering the highest standard of personalized dental care for her patients. Dr. Szott is currently accepting new patients of all ages. Please contact us at (336) 286-9897 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Szott.

 

 

 

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3150 North Elm Street
Suite 210
Greensboro, NC 27408
Call us today to Schedule an Appointment:
336-286-9897