In this post from the team at Falls Pointe Dental in Raleigh NC, we examine the link between healthy gums and your overall health.
What do your gums do?
Like your skin, the soft tissue in your mouth has an important job. It safeguards the roots of your teeth, and provides a barrier for the connective tissues and ligaments that hold your teeth in their sockets. It also protects the alveolar bone in which your teeth are anchored.
What is gum disease?
Gum disease starts with inflammation. Gums become swollen and tender. In its early stages, gum disease is called gingivitis. As the disease proceeds, the gums pull away from the teeth, developing pockets. This is called periodontitis or periodontal disease.
What causes periodontal disease?
Bacteria are always present in the mouth. When it is left on the teeth and gums, it turns into plaque. Plaque is a thick coating of bacteria on your gums and teeth. Plaque accumulates if it is not removed by rinsing, brushing, and flossing. If plaque multiplies in the pockets around the teeth, the gum will start pulling away.
When plaque hardens, it is called tartar or calculus. You can’t brush away tartar with your toothbrush. You need to have a professional dental cleaning.
What are signs of gum disease?
- Tender gums
- Bad breath
- Receding gums
- A change in the color of gums
- Loose or shifting teeth
- Pain and tenderness
- Pus between teeth and gums
- Teeth that appear longer
- Growing spaces between teeth
- Changes in your bite
How does gum disease threaten your health?
Gum disease ups your risk of:
- Heart disease
- Heart attacks
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Low infant birth weight
Can periodontitis be prevented?