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How Gum Disease Affects Whole Body Health

It’s said that over 90% of adults over age 30 have some stage of active gum disease, also known as periodontal disease. While you may have heard what gum disease can do to your mouth, you may also want to know how this chronic condition can have a negative impact on your entire body.

Even though you (hopefully!) are brushing your teeth at least two times daily, you still harbor bacteria in your mouth. Studies have shown that there is a link between a buildup of bacteria and plaque and major health issues in your body. Your regular six-month checkups at the dentist allow him or her to perform a professional cleaning and dramatically reduce risks or symptoms of gum disease.

Wait…What Exactly Is Gum Disease?

We rarely stop to think about our gums when we brush or floss, but gum disease is exactly as the name implies…a disease! It’s caused by a build of bacteria in the mouth that collects around and below the gum line, causing inflammation and irritation and triggering an immune response from the body. This is where things get serious!

The mildest form of this immune response is gingivitis. At this stage, you might not feel anything or notice a change. Again, this is the number one reason you should be diligent in maintaining your regular professional cleanings. Your dentist will eliminate this bacteria build up and will be able to assess your mouth for signs that are imperceptible to anyone but an expert.

Left untreated, gingivitis can progress into periodontitis, where the constant immune response can break down the connection between the gums and teeth.

Have you noticed some of the more severe symptoms of Gum Disease?

  • Persistent bad breath
  • Red, swollen gums
  • Pink in the sink after brushing
  • Tender teeth or tender, bleeding gums
  • Pain while chewing, drinking, or talking and laughing
  • Receding gums
  • Loose teeth

 

Gum Disease And Systemic Health

Research has linked gum disease to systemic health concerns such as the following:

  • heart disease
  • breathing issues and respiratory disease
  • stroke
  • kidney disease
  • diabetes
  • low birth weight and similar pregnancy complications
  • rheumatoid arthritis

It shouldn’t be that surprising: what affects one part of your body will affect the rest of your system. Everything is a connected, contained system?

How You Can Prevent Gum Disease

These three steps to preventing gum disease are easy to follow and will keep you on the path to wellness:

  1. We won’t stop ringing this bell: maintain your regular six-month dental checkups, where your local family dentist can monitor your oral health!
  2. Brush after every meal to sweep away food particles that decay in your mouth when left behind.
  3. Floss at least once a day to remove bacteria and debris from those pesky tight spots between your teeth.

Family Dentistry in Wisconsin

If you think you may have gum disease–either the beginnings of it, or a more advanced stage–not to worry. At Associated Dentists, we welcome all patients no matter how long it has been between visits! We have offices in Verona and Madison and enjoy serving patients near Fitchburg, Middleton, McFarland, Monona, Cottage Grove, Sun Prairie and nearby.

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