The gums are usually overlooked and underappreciated, yet they are crucial to maintain and hold the teeth in place and keep a healthy overall oral environment.
But did you know your oral environment can have an impact on the rest of your body?
Gum disease/gingivitis is caused by bacteria and plaque that accumulate around the teeth. The gums may then appear red, sore or bleed. When left unchecked, they cause deep pockets between your teeth and gums. This progression is termed periodontal disease. Gum tissue pulls away from the teeth, allowing the bacteria to destroy the underlying bone supporting the teeth.
The large amount of bacteria causing gum disease can enter the blood stream and travel to other parts of the body. This harmful bacteria can be found in the heart, brain, lungs and even placenta of pregnant women. Untreated gum disease in the long term can cause problems such as:
- Heart disease
- Respiratory disease
- Pregnancy complications.
Symptoms of gum disease include:
- Pain in the teeth and gums
- Red or inflamed gums
- Bad breath
- Bleeding gums
- Deep crevices between teeth (loss of gum tissue)
- Teeth loss
Causes of gum disease
While genetic susceptibility can be a cause of periodontitis, there are a number of other issues which also contribute to the occurrence of gum disease.
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Poor dental hygiene
- An existing disease which can inhibit the body’s own resistance to infection (diabetes, down syndrome)
Minimising the Dangers of Plaque & Gingivitis
To keep plaque under control, Dr Linda reccomends brushing twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and floss daily. Also getting a dental check-ups and clean at the dentist, usually every 6 months, is reccomended to maintain and treat the condition early before it spreads.
To find out more about gum disease and periodontics book in for a consultation with Dr Linda Vo. Contact us