Most people have no idea that having good gum health is important for overall health. Periodontitis or severe gum disease is a chronic inflammatory disease affecting 8 out of 10 adults over the age of 35 in Ireland, that if left untreated can cause tooth loss. It shares common risk factors such as smoking, poor oral hygiene, poor diet, stress, and lack of exercise with other diseases including heart disease, diabetes, and dementia.
Unhealthy gums are not always obvious and gum disease is generally painless, so you may be unaware of problems. Your gums support your teeth and play a major part in your oral and general health. Tell-tale signs include red, swollen, or bleeding gums. Severe gum disease is linked with other diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. In fact, there is a two-way relationship between diabetes and gum disease, people with diabetes are at a higher risk of gum disease and it also increases the risk of diabetes complications.
A gum problem is usually because of a build-up of plaque, which is the thin sticky film of bacteria that forms on your teeth every day and can contribute to tooth decay and gum disease.
The good news is that gum disease is preventable.
Today on Gum Health Day, 12th May, the Dental Health Foundation is encouraging awareness of gum health with the slogan ‘Treat Your Gums’. The best way to do this is by brushing your teeth for at least two minutes, twice a day, and cleaning between your teeth. This will remove dental plaque every day, which is key to prevention, along with visiting the dentist at least once a year, rather than waiting when there is something wrong. Healthy habits like avoiding smoking and having a healthy diet will also help to reduce the risk of gum disease.
It’s time for us all to take gum health seriously and to make healthy choices to improve and maintain oral and general health.
Visit https://www.efp.org/gum-disease-general-health/gum-health-day/ for more information about gum health.