One health issue you should always keep in mind and work on avoiding is gum disease. Following a proper oral health routine daily is the best defense against gum disease. Gum disease affects 50 percent of adults that are over the age of 30. Gum disease is preventable and, in some cases, even reversible. The only way to prevent gum disease is by brushing twice a day and flossing regularly. Having regular dental checkups is crucial to preventing gum disease.
Chronic bad breath, tooth loss, receding gums, bleeding while brushing or flossing, and puffy red gums are all symptoms of gum disease. If these are left untreated, several health problems can occur, such as tooth loss, tooth decay, and more serious oral health problems. Your oral health can have a significant effect on your overall physical health. Oral health problems like periodontal or gum disease have been linked to other health conditions, including diabetes, heart problems, kidney disease, asthma, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and osteoporosis. Surprisingly, over 120 illnesses have been linked to dental issues.
Diabetes and Gum Disease
Diabetes is strongly linked to gum disease. People with diabetes have weaker immune systems resulting in a decreased healing capacity. Periodontal tissues can break down more frequently because their healing ability isn’t as well. People who have severe periodontitis have increased levels of HbA1C. HbA1C is hemoglobin that is linked to glucose and is used to measure how well diabetes is controlled. Periodontitis may also affect blood glucose control. Periodontal disease occurs when small pockets are formed between the gums and teeth when the gums recede and pull away from the teeth. Food can get trapped within these pockets, and bacteria can develop. Toxins can produce and cause inflammation and irritation to the gums and mouth. People who have diabetes are more susceptible to bacterial infection and have a higher chance of gum disease. A more significant inflammatory response can be induced by leaving behind gum tissue plaque, making it harder for people with diabetes to control their blood sugar. A study conducted and published in the BMJ Open Diabetes Research, and Care journal in January 2017 showed that 1 in 5 people with periodontitis have type 2 diabetes and don’t even know it. Regular dental checkups provide an excellent opportunity for prediabetes and diabetes screenings. People with diabetes especially need to make oral health a priority. To prevent dental problems associated with diabetes, it’s vital for diabetic people to manage their blood glucose levels, have good oral hygiene, and attend visits to the dentist every six months.
Your Heart and Gum Disease
CRP, a c-reactive protein found in blood plasma, can be elevated in the bloodstream of people that have gum disease in response to body inflammation. Also, bacteria can enter the bloodstream through the infected gum tissue and travel to other parts of the circulatory system. This can cause inflammation and arterial plaque. Gum disease and heart disease share common risk factors like smoking and weight and explain why they are linked to each other and coincide. Getting gum disease treatment can decrease the chance of adverse consequences of heart disease. Dental plaque bacteria can trigger blood clots and increase the risk of stroke as well.
COVID-19 and Gum Disease
Research has shown that having gum disease may increase your odds of contracting COVID-19. The nation’s leading organization of periodontists, The American Academy of Periodontology, urges the importance of oral health, especially the Co, while we are amid the Covid-19 global pandemic. People with periodontitis are at least three times more likely to experience COVID-19 complications such as the need for assisted ventilation, ICU admission, and death. Covid patients with periodontitis also show increased biomarker levels related to worsened disease outcomes such as white blood cell levels, c-reactive protein, and D-dimer. There is a relation between high concentrations of the SARS-CoV2 virus in saliva and gum disease and death from COVID-19. The virus can enter the lungs through saliva by getting into the bloodstream in the mouth of people with diseased gums. After it enters the bloodstream, it can travel through the chest and neck veins, reach the heart, and be pumped into the lungs’ blood vessels.
Preventing Gum Disease
When it comes to your overall healthcare, maintaining good oral health is essential. A proper oral health routine consists of brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing once or twice daily. This is the first step to preventing gum disease. Many things can contribute to gum disease. However, smoking, having diabetes, and genetics play a role in a person’s chances of getting gum disease. If gum disease is caught at an early stage, it can be managed easier. But, if you allow it to progress, it can be challenging to treat once your teeth have lost too much bone support and may require dental extractions.
It’s obvious to keep away from sugary food and drinks to prevent gum disease. Foods and beverages that contain a high sugar content can create environments in the mouth that are acidic. Bacteria thrive in acidic environments and feed off the lingering sugar from our food, leading to gum disease. If you already have gum disease, the best way to treat it is to see a periodontist. They can offer a range of options for treatment. Non-surgical treatments like root planing and scaling can be performed. These treatments deep clean the root surfaces of the teeth, removing bacteria, tartar, and plaque. In severe cases of gum disease, the gums may recede from the teeth and expose tooth roots and require different treatment. Gum disease in advanced stages may require surgical treatments such as regenerative procedures and periodontal pocket reductions. These procedures remove bacteria from the space created between the tooth and the gum or use healthy tissue from other areas of the mouth to regenerate a new gum tissue in the areas where the gums are receded.
Supporting Gum Health
Having a healthy diet of certain foods can build healthy and strong teeth and gums and provide many nutrients. Here are some tips of foods that you can eat to support your gum health:
- To keep your teeth healthy and clean and reduce the risk of built-up plaque, eat fresh fruits and vegetables full of fiber and crunchy. Chewing yummy crunchy veggies and fruits can help support gum health and keep your teeth cleaner.
- Not only are foods high in calcium healthy for your teeth, but they also can help with other facets of oral hygiene. To prevent cavities, eating yogurt can encourage healthy bacteria in the body.
- Drinking much water throughout the day can wash away food particles and keep teeth clean and healthy, preventing the build-up of plaque, supporting gum health.
- Tea, which is rich in polyphenols, prevents bacteria. Bacteria encourages plaque to grow, so drinking tea can prevent cavities from forming and reduce the risk of inflammation in mouth tissues.
- Nuts, such as almonds, are high in fiber and low in sugar and contain minerals like calcium. Calcium helps encourage healthy teeth and gums.
- It is suggested to add whole grains to your diet as well. Besides all the other health benefits of consuming whole grains, they can also promote gum health and reduce your risk of having gum disease.