While gum disease occurs less frequently today than in the past, nearly one out of 10 Americans will suffer from the condition by the age of 64. At Southwest Portland Dental, we strive to provide our patients with the knowledge and skills necessary to maintain and improve their oral health so they can avoid gum disease. However, if patients don’t brush and floss daily, they increase their risk substantially for developing tooth decay and gum disease.
Healthy Gums and Your Overall Health
A variety of studies have found that the health of a person’s gums plays an important role in his or her overall health. For example:
- Heart health: Studies have found that patients who suffer from moderate to severe gum disease experience an increase in inflammation throughout the entire body. A few studies have even found a potential link between inflammation from severe gum disease (known as periodontitis) and a patient’s risk of suffering from heart disease or stroke.
- Lung health: Other research how shown that a patient’s oral health may help to promote lung health in individuals who suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Gum disease can also increase a patient’s risk of developing a respiratory infection, such as pneumonia. Researches suspect his may be due to the inhalation of bacteria into the respiratory tract.
- Nutritional health: Individuals who lose teeth due to gum disease may have a harder time eating such healthy foods as crisp fruits and vegetables. Not only can developing a chewing problem lead to poor nutrition, it can also cause other potential problems such as dizziness and fatigue.
- Emotional health: A healthy, bright looking smile is one of the noticeable parts of a person’s appearance, and most people would feel less than confident when smiling if they suffered from tooth loss. However, each year dentists in the U.S. pull approximately 20 million teeth, according to the Academy of General Dentistry. According to dentist, nearly 90 percent of their patients report social embarrassment as one of their biggest problems flowing noticeable tooth loss.
Tips for Keeping Healthy Gums
So what do patients need to do in order to keep their gums healthy and strong? Here are a few of the basics:
- Brush your teeth for at least two minutes at a time twice a day using a toothpaste that contains fluoride. Make sure you brush along the gum line in addition to the front and back of your teeth.
- Replace your toothbrush at least once every three months. Replace your toothbrush sooner if you notice the bristles have become worn of frayed.
- Floss between your teeth at least once a day.
- Use an antibacterial mouthwash as part of your nightly oral hygiene routine.
- Schedule regular appointments with Drs. Jarvis and Goldwyn for checkups and cleanings. Regular checkup allow the doctors to examine the health of your gums for any early signs of disease, and cleanings allow our professional staff to remove any built up tartar from long the gum line that can lead to gum disease.
- Limit your consumption of sugary snacks and carbonated sodas.
- Eat a balanced diet. A recent study found the men over the age of 65 received special benefits from eating diets high in fiber that may help to prevent gum disease.
- If you smoke, make every possible effort to quit. Individuals who smoke have a higher risk of developing a buildup of tartar and plaque along the gum line. Some studies even suggest that smokers may have a four times higher risk of developing periodontal disease when compared to nonsmokers.
If you have any questions about how to protect the health of your gums, make sure to ask either Dr. Jarvis or Goldwyn during your next appointment.