Did you know your gums could be telling you something else about your body?
Keeping your gum health in mind is part of a good daily oral health routine. If your gums aren’t in the best shape, they could be telling you something else about your body.
What is gum disease?
Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is an infection of the gum tissue, which is what holds your teeth in place. Gum disease is usually caused by poor brushing and flossing habits. Plaque, a sticky, hard bacterial film that ends up sticking on the surface of teeth, can form when someone has inadequate oral hygiene habits. The plaque can build up and press against the gums, causing them to become swollen and red, and even cause the gums to bleed.
Gum disease is no joke. If periodontal disease is left untreated, it can spread to the jaw bones and make it hard and painful to chew. In the worst cases, periodontal disease can cause teeth to become loose, and they may fall out, or have to be extracted.
The three major signs your gum health might be in trouble.
There are three major signs that your gum health might be failing. They are:
- Bleeding gums
- Swollen and puffy gums
The number one way to make sure your teeth and gums are in good health is by having a proper daily oral health routine. Your daily routine should include brushing your teeth (and tongue!) for at least two minutes, twice a day, with a toothpaste fortified with fluoride, as well as using a mouthwash certified by the American Dental Association and flossing your teeth after every brushing. If you notice your gums are sensitive, puffy, or bleeding after your daily brushing, reach out to the team at Allred Family Dental to schedule an appointment so we can help with your periodontal disease.
If you are experiencing halitosis, or bad breath, gum disease is just one cause. Halitosis is also caused by improper brushing, dry mouth, smoking, and even by eating certain foods, like onions and garlic. Besides following a proper oral health routine, you can treat halitosis by ensuring your mouth is producing enough saliva, which can help wash away bad bacteria that is growing in your mouth.
Who does gum disease affect the most?
Besides people who have a poor oral health routine, there are certain people who are more susceptible to periodontal disease. They include:
- Older people
- People experiencing high stress
- Women with high hormone levels, especially those who are pregnant
- Men with low testosterone levels
Women with elevated hormone levels are more susceptible to gum disease because higher levels of estrogen and progesterone cause more blood flow to the gums. This could cause gum irritation because the gums can be more sensitive due to the extra blood flow.
In a study done by Texas A&M University Baylor College of Dentistry, researchers found that men who had lower testosterone levels had a higher chance of having periodontal disease. The study said that many times, lower levels of sex hormones in both males and females tended to cause changes in gum and jaw health. Hormone replacement therapy is an option to help keep both the hormones and oral health in check.
Can gum disease be reversed?
If you catch periodontal disease early enough, the good thing is it is reversible. Your dentist can identify if you have gum disease or are simply in the early stages of it. With proper brushing and flossing techniques, you can reverse the damage of periodontal disease. Your dentist can also offer you tips and tricks to brush your teeth properly, and recommend mouthwash and toothpaste that is fortified with fluoride, a mineral that helps to strengthen the enamel of your teeth. Your dentist can also make recommendations on which type of toothbrush you should be using, either manual or electric, and also which shape and size brush head would be a better fit for your mouth. Believe it or not, having the right tools for the job can make a difference!
Visit Allred Family Dentistry
If you are in and around the Griffin or Hampton, Georgia area, and you haven’t seen a dentist in a while come check out what Allred Family Dentistry has to offer. The team is passionate and caring, and want to help make you smile. If you have any questions about gum disease, give us a call today, and we’ll be happy to schedule an appointment for a dental evaluation.