Nearly half of all American adults over the age of 30 have gum disease, also referred to as periodontal disease in the dental world. But many of us don’t even know we have it.
Ok, so what really is gum disease? It’s a chronic inflammatory disease that affects your gum tissue and the bone that supports your teeth. When it’s left untreated, gum disease can cause plenty of dental trouble, like loose teeth or even tooth loss. Not fun.
While gum disease has always been considered a baaad dude in the oral health world, the word is getting out that it can also negatively affect your overall health.
New information shows that people with gum disease may also have an increased risk of stroke or diabetes. What? Apparently the bacteria commonly associated with gum disease – get back, streptococcus sanguinis! – is also associated to coronary heart disease.
So, if you happen to notice that you spit blood when you brush your teeth, or when you floss, this may be a warning sign that you have some form of gum disease.
The good news is that there are plenty of things you can do to avoid or even eliminate gum disease. The most common form of gum disease, gingivitis, can be eliminated or maintained with good oral hygiene, like brushing twice a day, flossing, and seeing your dentist a couple of times a year for routine dental exams (which look for and monitor gum disease) and teeth cleanings. And should you have a more advanced form of gum disease, there are plenty of options to treat it, as well.
Add gum disease to the long list of things to be aware of regarding keeping your body health, and happy.