November 4, 2022
When most people think about their oral hygiene, brushing their pearly whites is the first thing that comes to mind. But your gums are just as important as your teeth—after all, they hold them in place! Better yet, having healthy gums doesn’t just benefit your smile and lower the likelihood of gum disease; it can also actively mitigate issues such as lung disease! Here’s more from your dentist in Mayfield Heights about this curious connection along with some tips for keeping your gums healthy and pink.
How Is Gum Disease Linked to Lung Disease?
Simply put, gum disease starts with oral bacteria. Good oral hygiene can help to prevent the accumulation of this bacteria, but failure to keep your mouth clean will give it the chance to wreak havoc across your mouth. Early gum disease symptoms usually include swollen, irritated, and occasionally bleeding gums—but if the disease is allowed to progress, the bacteria from your gums can easily enter your bloodstream and take a grand tour of your whole body, causing all kinds of problems including heart disease, diabetes, and in some cases, lung disease!
Under normal circumstances, healthy lungs have defense mechanisms in place to fend off bacteria, but damaged lungs that are infested with bacteria can’t protect themselves. These bacteria can also worsen the chronic inflammation that’s associated with lung issues including asthma and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), meaning that lung infection and disease becomes a real possibility if your gums aren’t healthy!
How Can I Safeguard My Smile from Gum Disease?
Fortunately, gum disease is easily preventable by practicing adequate oral hygiene and also seeking routine preventive care. Here are some tips to help you keep your gums healthy and pink:
- Brush every single day – Brush your teeth twice a day for 2 minutes each time using a soft-bristled toothbrush and toothpaste containing fluoride.
- Don’t forget to floss – Flossing is just as critical as brushing; it helps to remove plaque and food particles from spaces that your toothbrush cannot reach.
- Rinse with a mouthwash – An antibacterial mouthwash can rid your mouth of any debris that you might’ve missed while brushing and flossing.
- Avoid poor oral habits – Smoking and using tobacco products is a one-way ticket to gum disease, as well as other health problems like lung cancer!
- Consume a healthy diet – Sugary and acidic foods can increase the risk of gum disease; stick with mouth-healthy options like fresh fruits and hearty vegetables, lean proteins, healthy fats, and complex carbs.
- Drink plenty of water – Water is the absolute best beverage for your oral health, as it encourages your mouth’s natural flow of saliva.
- Visit your dentist for preventive care – Visiting your dentist is the best defense against gum disease. They can thoroughly clean and inspect your mouth, ensuring there aren’t any issues present.
Gum disease is a serious and widespread issue; in fact, it’s estimated that roughly half of all US adults suffer from some form of it! That said, the potential for it to contribute to lung disease and other serious health issues means that you should take steps to keep your gums vital.
About the Author
Dr. Jonathan Ross has served the dental needs of the Mayfield Heights, OH community for several years! Dr. Ross received his dental doctorate from Case Western Reserve University and completed his periodontal specialty training from the Medical University of South Carolina. His practice is proud to offer a wide range of services including periodontal therapy. If you have any questions or concerns about gum disease or would like to arrange a visit, you can contact Dr. Ross through his practice’s website or over the phone for assistance: (440) 461-6008.
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