One of the most common health complications, it’s surprising that gum disease is often overlooked by many. Also unbeknown to many, gum disease has a big connection with a person’s overall health. Here is all you need to know about gum disease and how to keep it at bay….
What causes gum disease?
Gum disease is caused by the build-up of bacteria, plaque and tartar on your teeth and gums, usually due to poor oral health. This can be for several reasons:
- A poor overall health (incorporating elements such as a poor diet, not drinking enough water and consuming too much alcohol).
- Failing to floss.
- Not brushing teeth thoroughly enough or for long enough.
Gum disease and overall health
Some of the conditions linked to gum disease include:
- Rheumatoid artritis
- Some cancers
- Heart disease
There is still ongoing research into identifying an exact link between these conditions and gum disease, though it is thought that gum disease is an inflammatory condition, causing your gums to bleed thus giving bacteria a passage into the bloodstream and the freedom to travel around the body, affecting other areas and creating new opportunities for inflammation.
How Can I avoid gum disease?
Gum disease can be avoided by adopting a healthy dental hygiene routine and by taking care of your body as a whole. As mentioned previously, gum disease is not restricted to your mouth, so if you only focus on keeping your mouth healthy, your immune system may not have enough resilience to protect against the threat of gum disease anyhow.
By brushing twice, a day, flossing regularly to remove all of the food particles and bacteria lodged between your teeth and eating well and arranging regular check-ups with your dentist, you can keep gum disease at bay.
Another very important aspect of dental hygiene is visits to the hygienist. A hygienist is not the same as a general dentist for whom you go to for a check-up. A hygienist’s job is to ‘deep clean’ your teeth to remove any plaque and tartar that is covering your enamel coating (the outer protective shell of your teeth). Once your enamel coating is damaged, there is no way to restore your teeth, so it is paramount that this is kept protected or you may need dentures or implants down the line. Hygienists perform what is described as a ‘scale and polish’ to deep clean your teeth.
Please note that a visit to the hygienist should NOT be a replacement for a visit to your dentist, as they are for two different purposes.