Gum Disease & Effects on Your Whole Health
Many people mistakenly believe that gum disease is nothing more than a topical illness that forms in your mouth. That could not be further from the truth. The fact is, gum disease can quickly become a systemic problem, leading to serious complications in other parts of your body. We here at Palo Alto Oral Health strongly believe that taking good care of your teeth and gums is extremely important to help maintain your overall wellbeing.
What Causes Gum Disease?
Gum disease is caused by the same bacteria that can cause tooth decay. Every time you eat anything, you are feeding the bacteria in your mouth and encouraging them to multiply. These bacteria can settle onto your teeth and gums, and if you fail to remove them consistently, they can start to attack them. When they attack your teeth, they cause cavities, and when they attack your gums, then gum disease can form.
How Gum Disease Can Harm You
Early-stage gum disease is known as “gingivitis.” Once it advances, it can turn into “periodontitis.” At this stage, tooth loss can start to occur. However, that is not the only complication that can arise from advanced gum disease. Gum disease has been found to cause many other serious problems, such as diabetes, heart attack, and stroke. Gum disease has also been shown to lead to rheumatoid arthritis and the same bacteria that causes it has been found inside lung cancer tumors. Dementia and Alzheimer’s are also associated with gum disease, which is why treatment and prevention are so vital.
Preventing Gum Disease
You can prevent gum disease by practicing good oral hygiene and maintaining regular appointments at our office. To keep your teeth and gums healthy, you need to floss and brush your teeth at least twice per day. Brush your teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush, and make sure you brush them at a 45-degree angle to your gums. You need to brush your teeth for at least two minutes each time.
Prior to brushing your teeth, you should also floss them. Flossing needs to be completed daily. Start with an 18-inch section of dental floss. Work the floss between each tooth and make sure you maneuver it up underneath the gumline. This can help remove any lingering bacteria and food from there. Every time you floss a different tooth, switch to a fresh segment of floss. This can help prevent spreading germs around.
You can use an antimicrobial mouthwash after you finish brushing and flossing your teeth. Please note, though, that mouthwash is no substitute for good oral hygiene. Instead, it is a supplement that can help keep your teeth and gums healthy.
Gum disease is not merely an illness that affects your teeth and gums. As you have learned, it can be very dangerous to your general health and, in some cases, lead to death. Preventing gum disease is something that we must work on together. If you are already suffering from gum disease, we can perform periodontal cleanings to repair the damage.
If it has been longer than six months since your last checkup, and you are ready to schedule an appointment with us here at Palo Alto Oral Health, or you have questions about gum disease and would like to talk with us, please give us a call today at (650) 321-9693!