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Beyond the Mouth: The Connection Between Gum Health and Systemic Health

Staying healthy is something that every person desires. When it comes to improving your health, things like exercise, eating a well-balanced diet and getting more sleep often come to mind. But what about oral health? Taking care of your teeth and gums is always neglected, but it should be taken care of. The dentist Newton MA, approves the importance of gum health for your overall health and wellness. 

What is gum disease?

Gum disease is a progressive disorder of the mouth that results in gum infection and inflammation. It develops over time in stages. 

  • Gingivitis: This is the earliest form of gum disease characterized by sore, swollen, bleeding, and tender gums. 
  • Periodontitis: This is an advanced form of gum disease characterized by attachment and bone loss, gum recession, malocclusion, bad breath, loose teeth, and painful chewing. 

What is the connection between your gum health and overall body health?

Untreated infection and inflammation can damage the gums and bones. An infection anywhere in the body can compromise the immune system. The white blood cells are activated and circulate through the bloodstream to the entire body. The immune response in the body due to gum inflammation increases the risk of the following disorders:

  • Heart disease
    • Gum inflammation has been linked to high blood pressure and heart disease 
    • The immune response leads to an increase in cholesterol levels that form fatty deposits in the arteries. 
    • This causes atherosclerosis and blocks the normal blood flow. 
  • Diabetes 
    • An uncontrolled increase in blood sugar levels leads to higher glucose levels in the saliva.
    • This promotes the growth of bacteria that cause gum disease. 
  • COVID-19 
    • Certain research studies prove that inflammation in the mouth may lead to a more aggressive form of COVID-19 and increase the risk of complications. 
  • Irritable bowel disease (IBD)
    • Some experts believe with preliminary data that inflammation in the oral cavity can lead to a worsening of IBD and other gastrointestinal disorders 
  • Mental health 
    • People with advanced gum disease and tooth loss tend to smile less due to low self-esteem. 
    • As a result, they avoid social gatherings that may lead to isolation, depression, and anxiety. 
  • Other health issues
    • Osteoporosis 
    • Pregnancy complications 
    • Kidney disease 
    • Rheumatoid arthritis 
    • Cancer 

How to prevent gum disease?

Prevention is the key to optimal oral health and overall wellness. 

Dental professionals recommend the following preventive tips:

  • Brush your teeth 
  • Brush and floss your teeth twice daily
  • Quit smoking 
  • Avoid excess alcohol consumption 
  • Use mouth rinse only when recommended since it may kill the good bacteria in the oral cavity 
  • Consume a well-balanced diet
  • Avoid excess carbohydrates and sugary foods and drinks

Visit your dentist regularly

Early detection is crucial since it paves the way for an effective treatment. Treating gum disease at an early stage will effectively prevent further deterioration and complications. This way you can safeguard your oral health and wellness.