Healthy Mouth, Healthy Body
Aug 11, 2013 11:23AM
SAVING YOUR GUMS
Here’s a startling statistic to sink your teeth into. More teeth are lost due to gum disease than to tooth decay. In fact, 75 percent of American adults over the age of thirty-five suffer from some form of periodontal disease, according to the American Dental Association. Periodontal disease takes two forms: simple gum inflammation called gingivitis, which is caused by bacteria, and a more severe gum infection called periodontitis, which may lead to tooth loss.
There are commercials on television that show how all the germs in the mouth are killed when certain mouthwashes are used. However, disease is not due to the presence of bacteria, but rather to the body being out of balance in such a way that the bacteria responsible for the inflammation are breeding out of proportion. Killing the bacteria is only part of therapy.
Research associates periodontal disease with over forty diseases including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, stomach ulcers, osteoporosis, obesity, weight loss, pneumonia and respiratory diseases. Studies show that if you have gum disease, you are 4 times as likely to get heart disease or a stroke.
A natural dentist will help you determine if the cause of gum disease is from an acid/alkaline imbalance in your body. That’s why diet and eating the proper foods are so important for good oral health. A strong immune system, healthy gums and bones, good nutrition and bacterial control are vital in preventing periodontitis. Regular dental visits are a must, as well as dedicated oral hygiene such as brushing after meals, cleaning between the teeth using floss, stimulating the gums using a water irrigator, and even scrubbing the tongue with a brush or a tongue scraper before you go to sleep. If your gums aren’t bleeding when you brush, or are not inflamed or receding, that doesn’t necessarily mean you do not have gum disease. As a pre-caution, one should check with their dentist every three or four months.
A study in the Journal of Medical Genetics indicates that the health of your gums can be determined by your genes as well. In fact, genes may play as important of a role as diet and dental hygiene in the development of gum disease. And while a certain amount of stress is considered normal, excessive stress can take its toll on the teeth and body. This can be seen especially when college students have finals and are under extra stress, or when starting a new job, taking care of the kids or anything else that adds stress to your life. Conventional dentists focus all their efforts on removing symptoms rather than trying to get to the cause of the problem. What this means is that before long you’ll be right back in that dental seat.
Eight Warning Signs of Gum Disease
• Brushing causes gums to bleed.
• Persistent bad breath.
• Soft, swollen, or tender gums.
• Pus appears when you put pressure on gums or teeth.
• Loose teeth.
• Receding gums.
• Your bite changes because of teeth shifting.
• Denture fit changes.
Dr. Zeines writes a series of articles on oral health and the relationship to general health. Readers are encouraged to submit questions to [email protected] For more info can be found at natdent.com.
Victor Zeines DDS., MS, FAGD
57 West 57th Street, New York City, NY 10019 & Shokan NY