Gingivitis and Systemic Inflammation

Gum disease is taking epidemic proportions, with more than 90% of American adults suffering from some form of gum disease. You may think that infections occurring in the mouth may have no consequence for your body but think again. Your mouth is connected to your body and is part of your immune system. When bacteria are present in the mouth, it’s almost a given thing that they will travel into the body and affect other areas as well.

Bacteria that build up on teeth make gums prone to infection. For example, gingivitis is a common and mild form of gum disease (periodontal disease) that causes irritation, redness and inflammation of your gingiva, the part of your gum around the base of your teeth. Over time, inflammation and the chemicals it releases eat away at the gums and bone structure that hold teeth in place. The result is severe gum disease, known as periodontitis.

Inflammation is a process where the body produces white blood cells and substances known as “inflammatory mediators” to protect us from infection with foreign organisms, such as bacteria and viruses. In itself, inflammation is not a bad thing. However, untreated, inflammation of the gums can (and will!) spread to other parts of the body causing an “overload” and resulting in sometimes serious health issues.  It is now a system-wide chronic inflammation that contributes to and sets the stage for other diseases like arthritis, diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

It’s important to take gingivitis seriously and treat it promptly. Gingivitis can lead to much more serious situations including tooth loss. Healthy gums are firm and pale pink and fitted tightly around the teeth. Signs and symptoms of gingivitis include:

  • Swollen or puffy gums
  • Dusky red or dark red gums
  • Gums that bleed easily when you brush or floss
  • Bad breath
  • Receding gums
  • Tender gums

The most common cause of gingivitis is poor oral hygiene that encourages plaque to form on teeth, causing inflammation of the surrounding gum tissues. Plaque can lead to inflammation and gingivitis. In time, your gums become swollen and bleed easily. Tooth decay (dental caries) also may result and from that point on, your gums and your body will be seriously affected.

When you or someone in your family exhibits the above symptoms of gingivitis it is extremely important to contact our office immediately so we can treat this inflammation with our latest holistic techniques. Leaving gingivitis untreated can lead to more serious health issues that take much longer to heal and will pose a risk to your overall health. Gingivitis is not hard to treat and together with a protocol of cleaning, brushing, flossing and a healthy diet, gingivitis can fully eradicated and your smile permanently restored!

Gingivitis, Symptoms & Causes – Mayo Clinic
Periodontal Inflammation: From Gingivitis to Systemic Disease? – National Center for Biotechnology Information
Oral Health: The Mouth-Body Connection – WebMD