Dentistry and Your Health

Missoula General Dentistry

Healthy Gums Promote Good General Health

Healthy gums are a basic requirement for overall well-being. Gums that are weak or diseased can and will cause infection and sometimes irreversible damage to the vital systems that fuel good health.

Gum disease not only leads to the loss of teeth, it also may eventually severely compromise the efficiency of the respiratory, digestive and cardiovascular systems.

How do we know if our gums are healthy?

Healthy gums should be light pink (or a little darker for those who are darker skinned), slightly stippled and should never bleed during brushing. Regular gum care is every bit as important as tooth care: where would your teeth be without a healthy set of gums?

Periodontitis is the most serious gum disease, usually referred to as Gingivitis in its early stages. Left unattended, Gingivitis causes the gums to redden and swell around the teeth but is rarely painful so it often escapes notice. As the disease progresses it can cause infections around the mouth in the form of abscesses and also triggers throat infections, earaches and sinus inflammation. These in turn may prompt respiratory and digestive problems.

Gum disease is directly linked with heart disease and research also identifies links with a list of other health problems through bacteria entering the blood stream. Oral bacteria in the bloodstream produces chronic inflammation, which can raise blood pressure and can cause clotting, leading to an increase in heart attacks and strokes. The inhalation of this bacteria can lodge in the lung tissue, making chronic conditions such as bronchitis and emphysema worse. In diabetics this bacteria can make it harder to control blood sugar levels. In pregnant women, oral microbes can cross the placental barrier, exposing the fetus to infection and in some instances, leading to premature birth and low birth weight babies.

Teeth are supported by bone as well as soft gum tissue. Gum disease that is left untreated will result in deterioration of the bone until the teeth begin to move, become loose, or even fall out!

Missing teeth certainly do nothing for a person’s appearance and no matter how old you are nobody likes a smile that reveals a host of dental problems. A person’s emotional welfare may be significantly undermined by the embarrassment of a set of crooked, discolored teeth surrounded by puffy, bleeding gums. And of course the worst of all symptoms is bad breath due to plaque but can also be the result of a digestive disorder brought about by gum infection.

Isn’t it worth taking care of your gums in the first place?

The way to achieve gum health

To ensure gums are healthy, brush and floss regularly, rinse with a good quality mouthwash, avoid sugary and acidic foods and stick to a well-balanced diet.

A healthy smile.

Regular dental checks and visits to the hygienist for professional cleaning can help ensure gums stay strong and healthy.

Dental decay prevention is considerably cheaper than dental restoration once oral health problems have been allowed to become established. Taking care of gums is the best way to guarantee healthy teeth, an attractive smile and good general health by avoiding the risks associated with gum disease.