Brushing your teeth is not just about making them shiny and white. It deals with a much more serious issue – lessening your chances of developing gum disease. Over 500 species of bacteria live in your mouth. Some beneficial, while others—under the right circumstances—can cause real problems. Gum disease can occur from plaque build-up, and excessive amounts of bacteria in your mouth, causing severe health problems. It’s a disease that could leave you with dental implants for the rest of your life.
How does it affect your mouth?
There are two main types of gum disease: Gingivitis and Periodontitis—with the latter being a very serious outcome that follows the first disease if left untreated. Gingivitis—otherwise referred to as gum inflammation—is when your gums become irritated due to plaque build-up. This causes swelling and bleeding of gums during tooth brushing. Wellington dentists describe it as the silent disease—people are not aware of it until it’s too late. According to their statistics, it affects 80% of the population, to varying degrees.
If the advancement of this disease is not brought to the attention of a health professional, it turns into something significantly more severe and unforgiving. Periodontitis causes an individual’s inner layer of gum and bone to pull away from the teeth, leaving exposed pockets.
These small spaces accumulate debris from food and bacteria, and can become infected. The body’s immune response in the attempt to combat the infection causes plaque to spread, and grow below the gum line. Unfortunately, this is not good. The toxins produced by the bacteria and the enzymes created by the body to manage the situation both start to break down the bone and connective tissue responsible for holding teeth in place. Over time the pockets deepen, causing bone and tissue damage. The teeth have nothing anchoring them in place, causing them to come loose and eventually fall out.
What comes next?
Early treatment is essential. If you experience any swelling or bleeding of gums sees the help of a professional, don’t just shrug it off as nothing. Gum disease is not only bad news for your teeth but can affect your overall health. Due to the exposed wounds in your mouth from Periodontitis, oral bacteria can enter the bloodstream, along with many toxic chemicals that they release.
These toxins circulate through your body and can compromise your health. According to New Zealand Dental Associations, there is a strong correlation between gum disease and the onset of much more severe health issues such as; heart disease, strokes, and even diabetes.
What are the primary triggers of the disease?
- Poor oral hygiene: In other words, people being lazy when it comes to taking care of their teeth. Don’t worry—forgetting to brush your teeth once or twice won’t do it. But not brushing and flossing daily can. It only takes a few minutes of your day, and could save you a lifetime of pain.
- Hormonal changes: Less known, but it’s true. Hormonal changes cause our gums to become a little more sensitive, and make it easier for Gingivitis to develop. Which is why it is extremely important that during puberty, menopause, pregnancy, and even monthly menstruation, more focus is put toward your teeth.
- Illness: Unfortunately our gums become more susceptible to infection and disease when we are sick or weak. If you’re unwell, be sure to spend a little extra time taking care of your teeth.
- Bad Habits: Smoking is a large contributor to the onset of gum disease, as it makes it harder for gum tissue to repair itself. It also makes it more difficult to spot the disease. Smokers often don’t have bleeding as a symptom due to the poor blood supply they get to their gums. Not being able to spot the problem often delays treatment!
Want to avoid gum disease?
Put in the time and effort to take care of your teeth! With good oral hygiene, you can prevent the onset of gum disease, and any unnecessary harm to your body. Call Real Dentist for more information, or to get your teeth and gums checked today!