What Gum Disease Says About Your General Health
While taking care of our teeth is ingrained in our daily rituals, it’s easy to ignore our gums. After all, gum disease is often painless and goes without very noticeable symptoms, making it easy to overlook if you have it. However, gums play an important role in oral and overall health. In fact, some types of gum disease can even serve as warning signs for other conditions developing in the body.
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is an inflammatory condition that affects the tissues that surround and support the teeth. When left untreated, it is one of the most prominent causes of tooth loss in adults, and according to the CDC, almost half of American adults suffer from gum disease.
The good news is that most cases of early gum disease, called gingivitis, can be reversed. It’s only when the bacteria spreads below the gum line that things get a bit trickier to deal with. Therefore, it’s important to recognize the early signs of gingivitis so you can work on treating your gums with your doctor.
Signs of Gum Disease
If you experience any of the following symptoms in your gums, you may have an early stage of gum disease called gingivitis.
- Gum bleeding during brushing or flossing
- Red and puffy gums
- Gums that recede away from your teeth
- Gum pain or tenderness when you brush, floss or consume something hot or cold
Gum Disease and Other Health Issues
If you needed another reason to take gum health seriously (besides the possibility of losing your teeth), you’ll be interested to hear that your gums can actually serve as warning signs for other health conditions.
If your gums recede away from your teeth….
You may grind your teeth while you sleep. Grinding your teeth at night is often a sign of stress, anxiety and even sleep apnea. If your gums are running away from your teeth, your teeth may look a bit longer than usual. Fortunately, you can manage teeth grinding by wearing a mouthguard at night. This allows you to grind your teeth without harming your teeth or gums.
If your gums are pale…
You may have anemia. Healthy gums vary in color from light to medium pink or even purple-brown depending on your skin color. While bright red gums are a cause for concern, so are pale white ones. Pale gums are often a sign of anemia, a blood disorder that occurs when your red blood cell count is too low. It results in less hemoglobin in your body, which is what gives blood its color. If you have anemia, you may notice that your gums are paler than usual. If you have other symptoms of anemia, such as fatigue, dizziness or weakness, you should speak with your doctor.
Paying attention to your gums can help prevent a myriad of health concerns, including tooth loss. Always take care of your gums like you do your teeth and the rest of your body. Schedule an appointment with Abra Health today!