Gingiva (gums)- we tend to not spend much thought on them, unless they hurt or are bleeding, but they are an important link to our total body health, and deserve some attention. Periodontal disease (gum disease) is linked to premature birth, heart disease, diabetes and other chronic health problems. Treating, or even better preventing, periodontal disease can lead to better overall health and lower health care costs.
The earliest form of periodontal disease is gingivitis, and this can be prevented or reversed by the daily use of tools we all already have at home-toothbrush and floss! At your hygiene visits your hygienist will assess your periodontal health, record your periodontal tissue levels, and review your home oral care habits. The doctor will review this information preform an examination to look at your teeth, jaw, palette, and gums to asses if there are any unusual bumps, colors, or damage that need to be monitored, further evaluated or treated. Our goal is to keep you from developing any level of periodontal or other diseases, and we will do all we can to help you achieve this goal.
When we look in your mouth we can see indications of many health conditions that affect parts of your body located nowhere near your mouth. Keeping regular visits with us gives you two opportunities to speak with a medical professional and have a part of your body assessed that your primary medical doctor does not spend much time looking at, and may not be as familiar with. The intricate and subtle nature of oral diseases and oral presentations of systematic medial problems are best evaluated by your Dentist.
If left untreated gingivitis can turn into periodontal disease, where the gum pull back from the root of the tooth creating a space where bacteria can enter your body causing an infection and inflammation of the bone in your mouth, and potentially traveling to other parts of your body like your heart. Research shows that the common thread between periodontal disease and chronic health conditions is inflammation-the body’s natural response to an infection or injury. The build- up of inflammatory substances in the blood seems to worsen heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic conditions.
The take away is probably not surprising: Continue to visit your dentist, and brush and floss effectively to prevent inflammation. We even give you the tools and knowledge before you leave so that we know you have what you need to keep your mouth in tip top shape!