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Victoria Ramos – D.M.D.  at Aleris Salem Dental Center
Elena Siniaver – D.M.D.  at Aleris Salem Dental Center

The Complete Guide to Gum Health

Did you know your gums are like the superheroes of your smile? They are super important for keeping your mouth healthy and happy! Caring for your gums is essential for maintaining good oral health. Staying on top of your gum health will set you up for a healthier body, as gum disease can lead to numerous other concerns. Research shows connections between gum health and conditions like heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and respiratory problems. When your gums are infected or inflamed, harmful bacteria can enter your bloodstream and spread to other parts of your body, causing inflammation and damage. Emerging research suggests it may also contribute to your brain health. ⁠An analysis led by scientists at the National Institute on Aging found that certain bacteria and the inflammatory compounds they produce in the mouth can travel through the bloodstream to the brain, and this process may contribute to the development of dementia.⁠ In a preclinical study on mice, Tufts University researchers found a link between Alzheimer’s disease processes and a common causative gum disease bacterium. ⁠

As dentists, we often see how the downstream effects of untreated gum disease can extend far beyond the mouth. This seemingly minor issue fueled by harmful bacteria, like the notorious P. gingivalis bacteria, can trigger a cascade of health problems you might not expect. This bacterium doesn’t just cause inflammation in your gums; it can sneak into the bloodstream, leading to chronic inflammation, a potent risk factor for various conditions. There are now 57 cross-referenced systemic diseases linked to gum disease. Gum disease might even impact sperm health and pregnancy outcomes, potentially leading to preterm birth and low birth weight. While research is ongoing, studies suggest potential links between gum disease and certain cancers, like pancreatic and kidney cancer. Chronic inflammation can act like a silent trigger, potentially exacerbating autoimmune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. The same inflammation linked to gum disease might also play a role in mood disorders and obesity, as well as metabolic disease and blood sugar dysregulation, creating a complex interplay.

Your gum health is the foundation of having a beautiful and functional smile for a lifetime. Be aware of your risk. Consider whether you smoke, your age, diet, and genetics. Do you see “pink in the sink?” Are your gums puffy, red, and sore? If not addressed, you likely have gum disease, which can progress to periodontal disease (even more pathogens!). It’s widespread and is one of adults' most significant causes of tooth loss.

The complete guide to great oral health

Here are some friendly tips to keep your gums feeling great:

  • Give an electric toothbrush a whirl! Brush twice a day, especially before bed. Trust us, your gums will thank you! Remember, prevention is critical.

  • Try to floss daily. You’ll get extra kudos if you're into water flossing - it's like a mini spa day for your gums.

  • Hold off on the antiseptic mouthwash unless your dentist says otherwise. We want to support your microbiome, not destroy it. Give your mouth some love with an oral probiotic – your gums will appreciate it!

  • Keep your diet balanced with plenty of vitamins. Think Vitamin C, A, D3/K2, CoQ10, and B12 – like little superheroes for your gums!

  • Remember to breathe through your nose - it's good for your gums and whole body!

  • And, of course, stay hydrated. Aim for half your weight in ounces daily. Your gums love a good drink of water!

  • Visit your dentist every six months for cleanings and oral health exams.

How do you know if you have gum disease? Gum disease begins when the sticky, bacteria-laden film dentists refer to as plaque builds up around teeth. Gums can change color, becoming paler or, more often, a deeper red. You may notice your gums bleeding, especially when you brush your teeth, or they are shrinking around the teeth, known as gum recession. Many people also experience a burning mouth that may affect the gums. We at Aleris Salem Dental Center are dedicated to restoring your gum health and ensuring the longevity of your smile with our state-of-the-art facility, modern techniques, and exceptional service.

Schedule your check-ups today at (855) 745-0055 because your gums deserve the best for oral health!


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