Because they are so visible, it’s natural to place an emphasis on the appearance and health of your teeth. However, the care of your gums is of equal significance. If your gum health is ignored, the soft tissue can become infected and even impact your overall wellness. As you continue reading, discover some of the health issues that dental negligence can lead to and what you can do to maintain strong gums.
Dental plaque that seeps beneath the gum line can cause gingivitis (inflammation) and eventually gum disease (infection). If ignored, oral plaque can enter the bloodstream and travel to other parts of the body, including the heart. Plaque buildup in the arteries can lead to heart disease or cardiac arrest.
For people dealing with gum disease, there is an increased risk of developing pneumonia. This may occur from inhaling bacteria into the respiratory tract, which can be particularly dangerous for people suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
If gum disease isn’t addressed in time, it can lead to tooth loss, which can make it harder to chew and digest health supporting foods like fruits and vegetables. This leaves the body devoid of vital nutrients, and it can impair its functionality.
In the United States, dentists pull 20 million teeth a year. After undergoing an extraction, many people experience social embarrassment. With the noticeable gaps, they become hesitant to smile. This not only affects their emotional wellbeing, but it also can take a toll on their physical wellness. According to research conducted by the Loma Linda University School of Medicine’s Department of Clinical Immunology, smiling can increase white blood cell count to help fight infection.
How to Protect Your Gums
Your home care efforts play a huge role in maintaining your gum health. Here are some simple steps you can take:
- Brush your teeth at least two times a day.
- Replace worn-out toothbrushes every 60-90 days.
- Rinse with an antiseptic mouthwash at least once a day.
- Floss at least two times a day to get into the tight spaces between your teeth.
In addition to incorporating the above into your daily habits, you’ll benefit greatly by visiting a dentist every six months for preventive care. While you’re there, your teeth and gums will be evaluated to make sure there are no developing problems.
If you’ve noticed gum bleeding, tenderness or redness, these may be signs of gingivitis. Instead of ignoring it, schedule a dental visit so you can be examined. By taking a more proactive approach, you can have your oral health restored and be able to enjoy strong teeth and gums well into the future.
About the Author
A graduate of the UCLA School of Dentistry, Dr. Nelson Y. Howard has over 30 years of experience in the dental world. Throughout his career, he has placed an emphasis on preventive care, encouraging his patients to take advantage of regular visits. Dr. Nelson treats gum disease at his private practice, and he can be reached for more information or to schedule a visit through his website.