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Gum disease and your overall health: Is there a connection?

When you think of someone with gum disease the images that come to mind are often those of red, inflamed and perhaps bleeding gums paired with bad breath and maybe issues with plaque.

New research has recently suggested that the effects of gum disease might not just be localised to the mouth area and could be much more widespread within the body. So just how does the condition of your gums play such a significant role in the overall health and wellbeing of a sufferer?

The effects of gum disease vary from person to person but the cause is largely the same - a build-up of bacteria, which is found in plaque and remains on the teeth and, in turn, affects the gums. While this is a generalised statement and there are many more factors to take into consideration, the main culprit here is bacteria. One of the most common forms of gum disease is gingivitis. This is where the traditional view of gum disease comes into play contributing to red, swollen and bleeding gums. Most individuals suffer from gingivitis at some point in their life and it is caused by a build-up of bacteria, which is the result of a lack of oral care by the patient and can almost always easily be reversed. Other factors that may cause gingivitis are diabetes, smoking-related illness, stress, lack of nutrition, HIV and changes in hormones such as pregnancy or puberty; this means that if you are suffering from the symptoms of gingivitis it is vital that you get a thorough medical check to make sure that it is not the symptom of a much bigger health problem.

As gum disease is bacterial in origin, there is also a risk that in severe cases it can increase:

- the risk of heart attack
- stroke,
- respiratory disease,
- birth defects and
- digestive disorders

making it really important to take care of your overall oral health on an ongoing basis. A healthy mouth also contributes to feelings of general wellness and wellbeing, increased self-esteem and improvements in social interactions so protecting your oral health has not only a positive impact on your physical health but there are also social benefits too.

To improve or maintain good oral hygiene, brush your teeth a minimum of twice a day in the morning and at night, floss at least once a day, reduce sugar from your diet, replace your toothbrush every three months and most importantly visit your dentist at least every six months for a check-up and thorough clean, this will allow any problems to be identified and rectified while they are in their infancy to avoid complications further down the track.

For more information on fighting gum disease and embracing overall wellbeing through hygienic dental practises have a chat with the friendly dental team at MGA Dental Gold Coast or Brisbane team phone Gold Coast (07) 5539 9748 or Brisbane (07) 3273 3343 or visit our website to book your appointment online www.mgadental.com.au or email [email protected].