When you prioritize your list of health concerns, where do you gums fall? For many, it is not a part of the body that is very close to the top of the list. After all, while gums are important to your mouth, they do not really affect the rest of your body, right? Your gums may be more valuable than you think. Read on to learn just how vital your gums are to your oral health and your overall health.
1. What Do the Gums Do?
Your gums form a protective layer that keeps bacteria away from the bones that support your teeth. They are a soft layer of skin that seals the area around your teeth tightly when everything is working right.
2. How Do You Protect Your Gums?
Brushing after meals and flossing daily can keep your gums healthy. Without proper dental care, plaque can form along the gumline. Plaque forms when food particles are not removed quickly enough. It only takes about eight hours for plaque to form, so do not go very long without caring for your mouth.
3. How Are Gums Damaged?
Plaque releases toxins, so if food particles are allowed to remian on the teeth, more than just the teeth are affected. Those toxins irritate the gums and can cause gingivitis, a form a gum disease. Gingivitis needs to be treated promptly, otherwise it may turn into periodontal disease, a more serious gum condition in which the gums become inflamed by infection. You may not even feel any pain from this condition, but know one thing for certain, it will erode your gumline.
What are Complications of Gum Disease?
The ADHA estimates that up to three-quarters of the US population have some form of gum disease, and most do not know it. While gum disease can ultimately lead to loss of teeth, that is not the only reason to be on guard against it. Poor gum health can also be bad for your heart. When bacteria from your gums get into your blood, it can make a clot more likely to form. Poor gum health thus contributes to cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death in the US. Research has also linked periodontal disease with respiratory infections and chronic conditions such as COPD.
With all of the serious medical conditions that can result from poor oral health, it is clearly vital to keep your gums in good shape. Be sure to brush and floss regularly, and see your dentist twice a year for a cleaning and checkup.