You care about your oral hygiene. It’s why you brush your teeth every morning and why you brush your teeth before you go to bed every evening.
But there’s one more thing that you should be doing every day, according to the American Dental Association — flossing between your teeth.
Yet, in a recent survey, the ADA found that one 4 in 10 people say they floss daily. Of the remaining six people, two of them never floss.
Knowing these stats, maybe it should surprise us that more than half of all Americans will develop gum disease during their lives. We’ve definitely seen our fair share of periodontal problems at Stonecreek Dental Care. Thankfully, we have a team of talented dental professionals providing high-quality, non-surgical gum disease treatments as well.
Gum health may be one of the most underappreciated problems in the United States today. Many people do not realize that more teeth are lost to periodontal disease than any other cause. That’s more than cavities and more than accidents and injuries.
Gum Health & Heart Disease
Protecting your gums is about more than just keeping your mouth healthy. It’s about your overall health as well.
People have been studying the connections between oral and total body health for years, and there is a growing consensus that having a gum infection can create problems for your cardiovascular health as well.
Chronic gum disease makes you more likely to develop heart disease and to have a heart attack. We know that there are a number of factors that can lead to either of those conditions. Yet knowing this, cleaning between your teeth on a daily basis is a small thing that could reduce your risk of a much more serious problem.
The bacteria that cause infected gums have also been found in the hearts of heart attack victims. Many health experts believe that with advanced periodontal disease, the bacteria are more likely to get into your bloodstream.
Once the bacteria is in your bloodstream, they can cling to fatty deposits. This can create the kinds of blood clots that are known to cause heart attacks.
It’s something to think about the next time you consider going to bed without flossing.
Gum Health & Diabetes
A symbiotic relationship is one in which both sides benefit from their connection to one another. Diabetes and periodontal disease could be considered mutually destructive.
The reasons why this is the case are still being studied, but it is clear that having a gum infection can make diabetes worse, and having diabetes leaves you more susceptible to gum infections.
People who have diabetes are more likely to experience dry mouth. A dry mouth happens to be a good environment for harmful bacteria to grow.
On the other side of this relationship, have infected gums can cause high blood sugar levels, according to the American Academy of Periodontology.
This is a particular concern for Ohio. In 1997, 1 in 20 people reported that they had been diagnosed with diabetes. As of 2017, nearly 1 in 9 Ohioans report that they have been diagnosed with diabetes.
Gum disease has also been linked to osteoporosis, respiratory problems, low birth weight babies, and an increased risk for certain types of cancer. We could go on, but we think you get our point. The health of your gums can affect a lot more than just your smile.
Signs of Gum Health Problems
One of the best things you can do for your oral health is learning the basics of gum health.
Your gums are healthy if they feel firm, look pink, and don’t bleed.
Red, swollen gums are a sign of mild gum disease. So are gums that bleed when you brush or floss. (It’s also a clue that you may not be flossing as often as you should.)
As a gum infection gets worse, you may notice more symptoms:
- Bleeding easily
- Separation between gums and teeth
- Pus between your teeth and gums
- Sores in your mouth
- Bad breath or a constant bad taste in your mouth
- Teeth that feel loose or changes in how your dentures fit together
- Painful or sore gums
Many people mistakenly believe that if their gums don’t hurt then they must be OK. That’s not always the case. Many people only feel tenderness in their gums in the latter stages of the disease, and some people never feel any pain even after they have lost teeth.
In other words, learning to recognize unhealthy gums can make it easier to get help before the problem gets out of hand.
Restoring the Health of Your Gums
If you do develop gum problems, it’s best to seek treatment as early as you can. Not only is the treatment less invasive, it’s also more effective.
At our offices, you can expect a non-surgical approach to this problem. This starts with at two-part procedures called scaling and root planing.
During the scaling stage, a member of our team will remove tartar and plaque formations from the roots of your teeth. This also cleans out the pockets between your teeth and gums.
In the second steps, your roots are smoothed out. As your gums heal, this helps that reattach to the roots of your teeth.
We offer local anesthetic as well as sedation dentistry . This way, you know you can remain pain-free during your treatment.
Be Proactive to Prevent Problems
Your best option for keeping your gums healthy is to make preventive care a priority.
That means brushing and flossing every day. (If you don’t like using dental floss, consider a water flosser instead.)
You also should have professional dental cleanings and exams twice a year at the nearest Stonecreek Dental Care location. With several offices in Ohio, we are probably closer than you think.