May 19, 2022

Why Healthy Gum Tissue is Essential to Your Overall Health

Did you know that high-risk oral bacteria can be present in your mouth long before visible signs of infection or disease? Identifying and preventing these bacteria is one way that we help our patients save their teeth from the effects of gum disease, keep these oral bacteria from affecting other areas of the body, and achieve peak dental health.

Gum disease can wreak havoc on your entire body, not just your mouth.

The presence of harmful bacteria in your mouth can affect not only your dental health but your overall health and well-being too. According to the American Academy for Oral Systemic Health (AAOSH), 80% of American adults over the age of 30 have some form of gum disease, making it one of the most common diseases in the United States. Still, not many people know about the additional health risks that come with gum disease.

We know that gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is linked to heart disease and stroke, and in fact, up to 50% of strokes and heart attacks are triggered by oral pathogens. Additionally, other health conditions including diabetes, pregnancy complications, Alzheimer’s, and certain cancers have all been linked to gum disease.

How do you know if you have gum disease?

A variety of signs and symptoms can point to the presence of gum disease in your mouth. Some of the most common signs include red, swollen, receding, or bleeding gums, a bad taste in your mouth, and your teeth feeling loose. If you have any existing systemic conditions like diabetes, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, osteopenia, and/or an unusual amount of stress, these conditions can be aggravated or worsened by gum disease as well.

Another factor that can play a large part in the development of gum disease is genetics. In short, despite a comprehensive oral regimen, some patients may be more susceptible to gum disease simply because of their genes. Ironically, the more your inherited immune system reacts to the disease-causing bacteria, the more damage can occur to the tissues surrounding the teeth. There are tests available now that your dentist can perform which can help determine if you are at risk for periodontal disease, and what steps can be taken to treat it.

If any of the above signs or symptoms sound familiar, or if you have a family history of periodontal disease, you should discuss diagnosis and treatment options with your dentist. It was once believed that there is no cure for gum disease, but using best practices from science and research we can now confidently set out to eliminate this bacterial infection. The bad news? Without having all of the information about your individual disease and without the guidance of a professional with extensive training in this field, periodontal disease can be a lifelong condition, especially if one or more of the risk factors mentioned above are present and uncontrolled.

What should you do to prevent further gum damage and disease?

Periodontal disease and tooth decay are diseases of bacterial origin, so the best defense against their development or progression is to form a care plan with your dental care team. Regular professional cleanings and check-ups with your dentist are essential, as are steps that can be taken at home, including meticulous oral hygiene, using oral care probiotics to repopulate the beneficial bacteria in the oral cavity, and antibacterial rinses. By taking these steps and making good oral health a priority, you can be better assured of a healthy mouth and lowered risk factors for developing other general health problems.

Collaborative care with Peak Dental Health can make all the difference.

Here at Peak Dental Health, every member of our team understands the serious challenges that gum disease can cause for not just your oral health, but your overall health and wellbeing. That’s why we treat this disease differently than the majority of other dental practices and take a proactive approach, resulting in much better outcomes. A key element of the unique way we treat and prevent gum disease is a collaborative approach between your home care and the guidance our team provides.

Interested in learning more?

If you’re concerned about your gum health, or just want to learn more, reach out to us! Our team of knowledgeable, skilled dental professionals would be more than happy to speak with you or schedule an appointment for you to come to visit our office.