June is Oral Health Month, so there’s no better time to focus on the importance of maintaining good oral hygiene in relation to improving your overall health. There are several oral health concerns, but periodontal disease (gum disease) stands as a significant and often overlooked problem.
Periodontal disease is highly prevalent and yet, most people remain unaware of its causes, symptoms, and potential consequences. In an effort to raise awareness, let’s delve into understanding what periodontal disease is, how it can impact your health, and learn some preventive measures to keep your smile healthy.
Signs of Healthy or Unhealthy Gums
Hallmarks of Healthy Gums
- Pink Coloration: Healthy gums typically have a light pink color that indicates a good blood supply and absence of inflammation.
- Firm Texture: Healthy gums are firm and resilient, bouncing back quickly after being gently pressed with a fingertip.
- No Bleeding: Healthy gums shouldn’t bleed when brushing or flossing your teeth.
- Smooth Contours: Healthy gums should have smooth, even contours that follow the natural shape of your teeth.
Signs of Unhealthy Gums or Periodontal Disease
- Dark red or purplish gums could suggest gum disease or infection.
- Swollen, soft, or spongy gums .
- Bleeding gums consistently, it may be an early sign of gum disease, such as gingivitis.
- Pockets or gaps between the gums and teeth can indicate gum recession or periodontal disease.
The Impacts of Periodontal Disease on Health
The health effects that come from periodontal disease, of course, affect your oral health, but left untreated it can also have several negative health effects throughout your body as well. Some of these include the following:
- Tooth loss
- Bad breath
- Receding gums
- Inflammation and infection
- Systemic health issues (an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, respiratory infections, diabetes complications, and even certain cancers is possible)
- Pregnancy complications
- Weakened immune system
Treating Periodontal Disease
Periodontal disease can be treated and prevented by maintaining good oral hygiene. This includes regular brushing and flossing, as well as bi-annual dental check-ups. Mouthwash won’t hurt either.
Did you know that Farm Bureau Insurance offers affordable dental insurance through Arkansas BlueCross BlueShield? We enroll families and individuals of all ages into dental plans that include coverage for preventive, minor, and major restorative services. Start treating or preventing periodontal disease today by speaking with a Farm Bureau Insurance agent near you.