Maintaining Health through Oral Hygiene
For the most part, people think of gum disease and gingivitis as the same thing. In reality, the two can mean quite different things to your oral and general health. In order to stay healthy, it pays to understand just what gum disease is, how it presents, and the impact it has on the body. Because studies have shown that thirty to fifty percent of Americans live with some form of periodontal disease, we make it a priority to not only regularly check gum health during examinations; but also to inform our patients of the steps they can take to avoid this risky condition.
Gum disease, which begins as gingivitis, may seem to be a purely oral condition; but its effects reach well beyond teeth and gums. Gum disease gets its start from bacteria that break down the foundation of healthy gum tissue. During the stage of gingivitis, the condition is still reversible when treated consistently with brushing, flossing and an anti-bacterial rinse. These are simple steps that a patient can complete daily. When these steps are not taken, bacteria continue to flourish and feed on food particles left behind after brushing, resulting in periodontitis. Thriving bacteria then not only begin to eat away healthy bone around teeth; they also have a clear path to travel to other parts of the body through the throat.
Just how much gum disease impacts general health is dependent on how far this oral condition is allowed to progress. By acting quickly to combat the effects of harmful bacteria, you guard your oral health as well as your immune system and other organs. When treatment is not received for gum disease, there is an increased risk of health conditions such as:
- Respiratory disease
- Digestive disorders
- Heart attack
- Low preterm birth weight
For patients who already have a health condition, it is even more important to maintain healthy gums and lower bacterial activity in the mouth, as this bacteria can increase the severity of an existing health condition.
Due to the far-reaching effects that go hand in hand with gum disease, early detection and treatment is critical to overall health. While regular checkups and cleanings in our Brentwood office are ideal, regular at-home maintenance has an enormous impact on the fight against gum disease. To check on the health of your gums, contact us to schedule your next dental visit.
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