We use our mouths every day. Whether it’s eating breakfast, drinking a soda, or talking to our co-workers. Generally, if we use something every day, we can vouch for the health and condition of it. We’re willing to bet that most of the people who read this sentence have no idea of their gum health. According to the CDC, nearly 50% of adults 30 and over have some form of periodontal (gum) disease.
Your gums are an indicator of your overall health, so they deserve to be examined more often than the 6-month teeth cleaning intervals that most of us abide by. Here are a few warning signs that you shouldn’t ignore:
• Bleeding when you brush or floss
• Sensitivity to hot and/or cold
• Receding from your teeth
If you have any of the above warning signs, make an appointment with your dentist to investigate the cause and begin treating before tooth loss becomes inevitable.
Healthy gums can be a light to medium pink. If you have dark skin, they could be purple or brown. Deep red gums could be cause for concern, while pale gums could be a sign of anemia or an iron deficiency. Pale gums, dizziness and fatigue are all symptoms that should be brought up with your health care provider.
Dry Gums can be an indicator of an autoimmune disease, which means that your immune system attacks your body. If you have dry gums, there’s a good chance that you also have lower levels of saliva and have trouble producing tears. If your gums and mouth are dry enough for you to take notice, it’s worth bringing it up with your doctor or dentist.
Our mouths are full of bacteria. We drink and eat every day, which introduces bacteria into our bodies. While our saliva takes care of most of them, people who have diabetes have a harder time healing. So, gum disease must be caught early, as it can get out of control and lead to tooth loss. Plus, the presence of a bacterial infection means that diabetic’s body is spending its time and energy fighting off infection when it should be controlling diabetes.
What Can We Do?
Don’t skip teeth cleanings! We know that everyone dreads that 6-month checkup and teeth cleaning, but dentists and assistant are trained to spot problems with your gums! The ADA recommends brushing twice a day for 2 minutes and flossing once a day.