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The Connection Between Gum Disease and Overall Health

Your health and well-being is important, and you do all that you can to stay healthy. But did you know that something as simple as brushing and flossing your teeth twice a day may contribute to your overall health? As the gateway to your body, your mouth may have a lot more to do with complete health than we ever thought.

Importance of a Clean Mouth

Your mouth, like other areas of your body is constantly a haven for bacteria. There is no way to avoid this and some of the bacteria is harmless. When you are on top of oral care, you are better able to keep the levels of bacteria to a minimum. When the bacteria is allowed to grow and thrive, unchecked by proper tooth and gum care, it is possible to develop infections and irritations in the gums. WebMd points out that when allowed to progress, the infections may wear away at the gums and teeth, resulting in a condition called periodontitis, or severe gum disease.

Gum Disease and Its Connection to Other Diseases

The University of Maryland Medical Center lists several diseases that have a connection with gum disease. Among those listed are heart disease and diabetes.

Heart Disease – Because both gum disease and heart disease are due to infection, there are theories and research that suggests the inflammation found in the mouth is part of the reason the heart also becomes inflamed and infected.

Diabetes – Evidence suggests that not only are you at a higher risk of diabetes if you have gum disease, but also that diabetes itself worsens when gum disease is present.

Correlation, not Causation?

While it is true there are studies suggesting this relationship, others are quick to point out that association does not mean one is caused by the other. The American Dental Association suggests that the link could be something completely different. Perhaps the patient smokes cigarettes, and that could cause both problems.

As you can see, further clinical trials and studies are required to establish if a connection between gum health and overall health exists. Regardless, it is always a good idea to take daily care of our teeth and gums, and to see a dentist on a regular basis.

If you have any questions regarding your gum health, the best place to start is by talking to your dentist. With a comprehensive understanding of the gums and how to keep them at their healthiest, he will be able to help answer any questions or concerns that you may have.