Cosmetic concerns are usually the priority for most people when it comes to dental care, but healthy gums play an important role in your oral and general health as well. According to the American Dental Association (ADA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), gum disease is so common in the United States that at least half of all American adults over the age of 30 will experience some form ranging from gingivitis to periodontitis.
Unfortunately, gum disease affects more than just your oral health. Recent studies have shown that unhealthy gums may increase the risk of potentially serious general health complications as well, from diabetes to heart disease.
Dr. Scott Young and our dentists offer a range of general and cosmetic dentistry services for all of your oral health needs at our office in The Woodlands, Texas.
The link between unhealthy gums and your general health
Most people know that poor oral hygiene, a bad diet, and lack of dental care can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. However, the bacteria buildup that leads to cavities and gum inflammation can also cause problems throughout the rest of the body in some cases, paving the way for a host of potentially serious complications, especially for people with compromised immune systems.
Secondary health problems linked to unhealthy gums
Unhealthy gums are prone to infections and inflammation which can spread to other parts of your body and diminish your immune system making it harder to fight off disease. Here are some of the overall health problems that have been linked to poor oral health:
While gum disease doesn’t cause diabetes, a relationship has been found between the two, and diabetics are at a higher risk of developing it. Regular check-ups and dental cleanings, as well as a good oral hygiene routine, are especially important if you have diabetes.
Oral bacteria can travel through the bloodstream and increase the risk of reaching your heart. Researchers are also studying a potential link between chronic gum inflammation and cardiac health.
Pregnant women with gum disease may be at higher risk for complications and potential birth problems like premature labor and low birth weight.
Bacteria from your mouth can also find its way into your lungs and respiratory tract.
How to protect yourself from unhealthy gums
The best thing you can do to protect your gums and overall health is to practice good oral hygiene, which includes brushing at least twice a day and replacing your toothbrush regularly. Also, make sure to floss at least once a day, eat a healthy diet, avoid tobacco, and attend regular cleanings with our team at least twice a year.
Even if you haven’t been to the dentist in years, it’s never too late to get your oral health back on track. For more information about gum disease prevention and treatment, contact us today to schedule an appointment by calling the office directly at 832-610-3123, or request an appointment online.