When it comes to oral health and hygiene, it’s the teeth that often get the most care and attention, leaving the gums to take a backseat. Everyday habits like brushing and flossing are almost always geared towards keeping the teeth strong, healthy, and beautiful.


But that shouldn’t be the case. The gums matter just as much as the teeth and require the same level of care. Similar to the teeth, caring for the gums can eliminate the build-up of plaque and tartar and prevent disease. And it’s not just gum disease, either; studies have shown that the inflammation from gum disease can affect the bloodstream and essential blood vessels.


Are you keeping up with your gum health? If it’s been a while since you’ve seen a periodontist or haven’t at all, and you’re not in the habit of paying as much attention to your gums, it’s time we changed that. Read on to find out why gum health matters and how it affects your overall health.


Refresher: What do the gums do?


The gums take up a lot of space in the mouth and they’re found below the teeth. But did you know that they do a lot more than just complete your smile?


The gums are one of the most crucial aspects of oral health. They protect the teeth and help prevent diseases in the mouth. Composed of soft tissue that covers the teeth and the bones of the mouth, the gums create a tight seal around each tooth to help keep them in place and establish a barrier against bacteria.


And so when the gums don’t get the care they need, gum disease can develop. This happens because food particles and other debris get stuck along the gum line and between the teeth. Without proper oral hygiene, the bacteria can form plaque and harden into tartar, eventually damaging the gums and causing complications.


The Link Between Gum Health and Overall Health


Not a lot of people know this, but there’s more to healthy gums than protecting the teeth. Because all the parts of the body are inextricably linked to one another, the health of your mouth has an impact on your overall health. And as a result, conditions like gum disease have been linked to a number of different illnesses across the body.


Health Conditions Linked to Gum Disease


According to research by periodontists, gum disease is linked to diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, respiratory disease, and rheumatoid arthritis. In a study of over 1,000 medical histories, researchers at the University of North Carolina School of Dentistry discovered that people with gum disease were twice as likely to suffer a heart attack and thrice as likely to experience a stroke.


Why Gum Disease is a Gateway for Other Complications


But how exactly does gum disease increase your risk for other health conditions? For one, it’s one of the most chronic inflammatory conditions. This is because the mouth is one of the biggest entry points for infection causing bacteria that can travel to the rest of the body.


The major complicating factor is that gum disease often goes undetected until serious symptoms are concerned. Since gum health often comes in second after dental care for the teeth, bacteria causing plaque and tartar build-up continuously nest and grow in the gums, further worsening gum disease. This ongoing inflammation can then cause bacteria to enter the bloodstream, which leads to increased inflammation in the rest of the body, such as the heart.


Similarly, periodontists have also observed a link between gum disease and diabetes. As studies have shown, treating diabetes can improve the health of the gums and teeth. And when gum disease is treated, a person’s need for insulin also lowers.


All of these highlight the importance of gum health. Proper care for the gums not only improves their ability to protect the teeth and prevent worsening of gum disease, such as when large pockets between the teeth and gums form. Even more crucially, prevention and early treatment of gum disease can help keep the rest of your body healthy.


Signs and Symptoms of Gum Disease


With gum health being paramount to your overall long-term health, you need to start keeping an eye out for warning signs of unhealthy gums. Through early diagnosis and treatment, your periodontist can prevent the onset of severe gum disease and improve both your gum and overall health.


These symptoms to watch out for include:


  • Gums that bleed easily or blood in your spit after brushing or flossing
  • Gums that feel tender to the touch
  • Gums that appear swollen or puffy
  • Consistently bad breath
  • A bright red, dusky red, or purplish colour of the gums
  • Pus that forms between your teeth and gums
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Loosening teeth or eventual loss
  • New or increasing spaces developing between the teeth
  • Changes to your bite
  • Gum recession, or when gums pull away from the teeth, making the teeth appear longer


Learn More About Gum Health from Our Periodontists in Mississauga


Are you taking good care of your gums? With gum health being linked to a variety of health conditions and determinants of good health it’s important to factor it in your diet and lifestyle. And if you need help staying on track, our periodontists in Mississauga can help.


At Periodontal Associates, we care about our patients’ long-term gum health. Beyond treatments for gum disease and tooth restorations, we help you achieve healthy gums in the long-term. With regular visits to our periodontists in Mississauga, you can find out how to prevent gum disease and minimize your risk of developing a host of other complications. Start taking proactive steps to keep your gums healthy for life.


Need help with maintaining gum health? Talk to our periodontists in Mississauga about the importance of gum health in preventing other diseases, and start living with good habits that promote your well-being.

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