How gum disease affects your health

by Shahed Ali | Feb 10, 2020

One of the most surprising things about gum disease is how it can impact other parts of your body.

That’s because when gum disease is established, bacteria have direct access to the bloodstream via damaged gums, potentially leading to inflammation and tissue damage elsewhere in the body.

If left untreated gum disease will have a dramatic impact on your oral health and could also lead to other health conditions.

Did you know, gum disease can increase your risk of heart disease

Only one in three people is aware of the link between gum disease and heart disease. In the same way that gums can be inflamed by the bacteria in plaque, the tissues in the heart can be irritated and damaged by the same bacteria if it is in the blood.

Even less well known by most people are the links between gum disease and the increased risk of stroke and diabetes, plus it has been linked to problems in pregnancy, pneumonia and greater risk of dementia.

Although all of that sounds scary, the great news is that the early stages of gum disease are preventable.

How gum disease can affect the body

Preventing gum disease

Key to preventing the first stage of gum disease, known as gingivitis, is good home oral hygiene.

  • Brush your teeth twice daily for two minutes, remembering to clean all surfaces of the teeth.
  • Floss at least once a day to prevent plaque build up between the teeth. Brushing (even with an electric toothbrush) only reaches up to 60% of your teeth, so flossing is a vital step.
  • While mouthwash isn’t always necessary for those with healthy gums, in the treating of gum disease an antiseptic mouthwash containing chlorhexidine or hexetidine can be beneficial and will likely be advised by your dentist.
  • Stop smoking. If you’re a smoker, quitting will be vital to improving your gum health.

Regular visits to your dentist or hygienist are important to make sure you’re brushing well and to remove any hardened plaque.

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