Many secrets of good health aren’t really secret. Almost all people know them. Exercise, eat right, get enough sleep, and don’t drink too much, if you drink at all. Don’t smoke. Not really rocket science for most of us, although there are disagreements about what exact amounts and ingredients of diet and exercise are best. But there’s one extremely important health area that not as many know about. It concerns the foundations that help hold your smile in place.
Behind the Smile
A beautiful smile is typically a sign of good health. White, natural teeth signal well-being and vigor in young and old alike. The care of your teeth, not just the color and appearance, is vitally important. But, many times the unseen condition of your gums can be equally important. Gum disease is caused by bacteria that form plaque between your teeth and inflame the gums. It turns out that not only your oral health is at stake. The condition of the gums has been strongly linked to a person’s overall state of health
Serious Health Concerns
Gum disease has been found to have correlations with some serious health problems. These include heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, erectile dysfunction, and even possible reduced cognitive function. Now, correlation doesn’t necessarily signify causation, and researchers have been cautious about the health links between gums and overall health. There are different theories that attempt to explain why the correlation exists, largely involving the bacteria caused by plaque and the inflammation it causes.
The solution isn’t known for certain yet; more studies are needed. But it’s obvious the gums are much more important than many people realize. Your gums act as a barrier to protect you in the same way that the skin does. Receding unhealthy gums can bring tooth loss. Long-term inflammation is associated with an increase in vulnerability in other body systems. Harvard-affiliated researchers discovered a link between plaque between the teeth and plaque in the arteries. While an exact cause/effect relationship has not been determined, the correlations strongly indicate that gum health is vital.
What Can You Do to Protect Your Health?
Thankfully, simple good oral hygiene is often enough to maintain good gum health. This should include regular brushing, flossing, limiting sugar intake, and periodic dental checkups and cleanings. Signs of bleeding or swelling in the gums, bad breath, or any unusual oral symptom should never be ignored. Early gum disease is known as gingivitis. If caught early, gingivitis can be treated fairly easily with the good hygiene techniques mentioned above.
But as gum disease progresses, it becomes more and more dangerous, expensive, and difficult to treat. Professional periodontal care is essential. The occurrence of gum disease also increases with age. Good gum health is vital to your overall health. That’s the health secret not as many know! Keeping your gums healthy can reduce your chances of dying from cancer, heart disease, diabetes, or stroke and help you live the kind of long, healthy life we all desire.