Did you know that your mouth provides context clues about your overall health?
During a regular professional cleaning, your dentist can detect and diagnose systemic diseases in your body. This is why maintaining your six month checkups are of so much value–not just for your teeth and gums, but for your whole health! (There’s a reason why dentists tout the importance of preventive dentistry, and this is it!)
The Link Between Gum Disease and Health
Diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, respiratory disease, and strokes display oral symptoms, which can be spotted by your family dentist during a routine check up.
Researchers used to blame the buildup of bacteria on our teeth and gums for disease in the body, yet now all signs point to inflammation as the likely root cause.
What Is Gum Disease?
Periodontal, or gum disease, is an inflammation of the gums that can affect the bone that surrounds and supports your teeth. The first stage of gum disease is gingivitis, and symptoms include swollen, tender gums, and some ‘pink in the sink’ after brushing and flossing. At this stage, seeking professional care–such as an old-fashioned dental cleaning–will halt the infection in its tracks and your inflammation will decrease.
Left untreated, the inflammation will increase and begin to cause deterioration in the bones that keep your teeth in their rightful places! This advanced stage of gum disease is known as periodontitis, and it has effects that go beyond the mouth and into the body.
Diabetes and Gum Disease
Infections in the gums can raise blood glucose levels and introduce an insulin resistance syndrome. Inflammatory agents aggravate your blood vessels, blocking them with plaque. These blockages are associated with not just diabetes but strokes, heart disease, kidney disease, respiratory disease, and birth complications.
Dental care and diabetes also goes the other way around: people who have diabetes have a high blood sugar, which coats areas of the body, hampering your circulation. Poor circulation affects the blood vessels that send essential components like nutrients and oxygen to the gums and cells in your mouth. If production of these elements are halted, your gums and mouth have a much harder time resisting infection and cannot effectively eliminate any present bacteria.
Do I Have Gum Disease?
Hmmm. Let’s see. Are you experiencing any of the following symptoms?
- Red, swollen and tender gums
- Gums that bleed after brushing
- Loose teeth
- Sensitivity to hot or cold drinks and foods
- Receding gums
- Bad breath
- A change in bite
If so, get thee to a dentistry!
Treating Gum Disease
Generally, a diligent at home hygiene routine that includes brushing and flossing twice daily, will do its part in keeping plaque buildup to a minimum. Your professional cleanings at your local dentist practice are also a crucial part of preventive measures needed to maintain oral health!
For advanced gum disease, not to worry: there are treatments for removing even the most stubborn of plaque buildups!
Gentle Dental Care At Libby Dental
If you or a loved one hasn’t been to the dentist in awhile or has noticed a change in dental health, give us a call at (619) 276-6884 to schedule a convenient dental checkup. We look forward to providing the best quality dental care so that you can smile freely again.
Remember: Prevention is the key to maintaining positive oral health!