“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”-Benjamin Franklin
When it comes to periodontal (gum) disease, Benjamin Franklin’s quote couldn’t be more true. We have plenty of great treatment options for people already suffering from gum disease, but the best way to fight any disease is prevention.
If you beat gum disease in the past or have never had it before, your best bet is to keep your mouth clean and healthy so you can avoid gingivitis and periodontitis in the future.
A healthy mouth begins with daily oral care and taking care of your whole wellness.
- Brush twice a day
- Floss once a day
- Support your diet with effective nutritional supplements
- Get regular dental cleanings and checkups
- A professional cleaning can remove built-up plaque, tartar, and bacteria that regular brushing and flossing can’t.
What are the Risk Factors of Gum Disease?
Who’s at risk? There are a few factors that can increase your risk of developing gingivitis and periodontitis, including:
- Genetics – If either of your parents suffers from gum disease, you are at a significantly higher risk for developing gum disease, too.
- Tobacco use – People who smoke or chew tobacco are at a much higher risk for gum disease, and smoking can lower your chances of successful periodontal treatment.
- Chronic immune disorders – These conditions weaken your immune system’s ability to fight infections.
- Diabetes – Diabetes makes people more likely to develop infections, including gum disease, due to how it complicates the blood flow through the tiny vessels in your mouth.
- Bad oral health habits – If you’re not brushing and flossing properly, bacteria is allowed to build up and grow along and under the gum line.
- Poor nutrition – When you’re not eating right, you’re not giving your body the tools it needs to protect itself against infections like gum disease. Science has clearly shown that people suffering from gum disease are low in their antioxidants. Support your gum health by supplementing with quality supplements that help you fight the damage from disease-causing bacteria!
Most of us don’t think about our holistic gum health very often. Instead, we worry about cavities, tooth stains, and other more visible dental issues. All of those things are important, but we’ll let you in on one dental secret: you can’t have healthy teeth without healthy gums!
In this post, we’ll explain why. We\’ll also tell you how to recognize the most common signs and symptoms of gum disease and other gum issues, and what you can do about it.
If your gums aren’t healthy, you have plenty of options, from easy, at-home treatments to high-tech dental procedures for more advanced issues. But don’t worry— We won’t recommend anything that involves scalpels or painful gum surgery! That is not the Holistic Dental Center New Jersey way! We’ve made it our mission to offer painless, minimally-invasive options for treating dental problems like gum disease.
Why Is Gum Health Important?
Healthy gums are important for two reasons:
- They protect your teeth.
- They affect the overall health of your whole body.
Keep Your Teeth Strong
Think about it. Along with your jaw bone, your gums surround the roots of all of your teeth, holding them in place. If your gums become infected, they can’t protect the teeth and bone that they cover the way they should. If left untreated, gum disease can eventually lead to bone infection, tooth decay, and/or even tooth loss.
If you’ve lost teeth to gum disease, we have great options for replacing them with something that looks and feels natural, but nothing beats real teeth. The best way to keep all your teeth is to take good care of your gums!
The link between healthy gums and a healthy body is much stronger than most people realize. In fact, problems in your mouth affect your whole body.
Gum disease is the result of your body’s response to the presence of infectious bacteria in your mouth. These bacteria don’t just damage your gums; they can also damage the rest of your body. And the inflammation caused by those bacteria can have a serious negative effect on your general health.
Consider this. If the palm of your hand bled when you touched it, you would be VERY concerned about the irritation and infection in that hand! Well, the truth is that for most people with active gum disease, if you add up all of the infected surfaces of their gums and lay them out flat, it would literally be the size of the palm of your hand. That’s a LOT of infection!!
Gum disease has been linked to a variety of health issues, including heart disease and diabetes. There is also evidence gum disease may even be linked to other conditions, like dementia, rheumatoid arthritis, respiratory infections, and premature birth.
Signs and Symptoms of Gum Disease
So how can you tell if your gums are healthy or not? There are a few common symptoms you can look for:
- Bleeding gums during brushing or flossing
- Swollen, tender gum tissue
- Bad breath that won’t go away
- Receding gums
- Loose teeth (a potential sign of very serious, advanced gum disease)
If you’re concerned about the health of your gums, the best thing you can do is talk to your dentist (preferably a holistically-minded one!). It’s the only way to know for sure. When you go in for a dental exam, your dentist looks at your teeth, gums, and the bone supporting your teeth (which is visible on an X-ray). This initial information will help establish if you are experiencing any of the symptoms of gum disease. Be sure you have chosen a dentist who evaluates bacteria in your mouth with a microscope that will help prevent a healthy gum measurement to end up being a diseased one.
At Holistic Dental Center, we use a phase-contrast microscopy evaluation on every patient. Your dentist should also take measurements of periodontal pockets—the little spaces between your teeth and gums that can widen when gum disease sets in. Healthy measurements are 2–3 mm and there is NO bleeding. Measurements of 4+mm and/or bleeding indicate that there is irritation and infection. Seeking effective antibacterial management early is the key to prevention.
Next time, we’ll discover the specific types of gum diseases and treatment options.
Contact Holistic Dental Center of New Jersey for an Appointment
If you have noticed sore or bleeding gums, persistent bad breath, are at an increased risk for gum disease, or just have questions about it, we can help.
Treating gum disease is perhaps the oral health subject about which we are most passionate. At Holistic Dental Center New Jersey, we offer everything from genetic risk assessment to prevention techniques to advanced laser treatments. We’d love to meet you, and together we’ll come up with a treatment plan that works for you.
If you’re due (or past due) for an oral health assessment, or if you have questions about your oral health or integrative holistic dentistry, Holistic Dental Center New Jersey can help. Give us a call at (973) 718-5104 or contact us online to set up an appointment and for more information.