Of course, it’s important to consider more than just your teeth when you’re dealing with your oral health. Your gums are also a critical piece of the puzzle and you’ll never have total oral health if they are diseased.
About Gum Disease
Gum disease is one of those issues that doesn’t often have many symptoms in the beginning. This means that when you finally notice something is wrong, you may be in danger of losing a tooth or teeth. When plaque is left on the surface of your teeth to form hard tartar, it can attack the point where the teeth and gums meet and lead to infection and tooth loss.
While you may not notice anything in the very early stages, once symptoms do begin to show you might see:
- Red gums or a little bleeding with brushing.
- Puffy gums or change of gum color.
- Swelling, bleeding in your gums or loose teeth.
Since pain is not always part of the equation, you may be in a bad state by the time your dentist realizes you have gum disease. That is why it’s important to see your dentist regularly and brush and floss regularly to keep your gums clean and the attachment between your gums and teeth strong.
Some of the health risks associated with serious gum disease include:
- Pain and abscesses
- Chronic bad breath
- Tooth loss
- Lung infections (especially in the elderly)
- Possible pre-term baby deliveries
Many doctors and health care practitioners claim that oral health can affect your heart, your blood and even your brain, so take it seriously and keep your teeth and gums healthy.
Are You At Risk?
Some of the more common risk factors for gum disease include:
- Hormone changes (especially for women)
- Poor nutrition
- Certain medications
The key to minimizing your gum disease risks is to stop any of the behaviors that are listed as risk factors and obey basic oral hygiene rules. If you remove plaque on a daily basis, before it gets out of hand, you’ll be well on your way to maintaining good oral health and avoiding any of the gum disease consequences.