What Your Gums Say About Your Health
It’s no mystery that the beauty of a smile can impact a person’s image and their level of confidence. Surprisingly though, the health of a person’s gums can say even more about the health of the person than their teeth.
It makes sense since gums are the protective tissues that surround the teeth – protecting the roots and bone structure underneath it from all of the possible invaders that could enter through our mouths.
Read on to find out what your gums are saying about you!
What do healthy gums look and feel like?
Healthy gums are light to medium pink, or slightly darker depending on your skin tone. Healthy gums lie snugly against your teeth, fully covering the root of the tooth. Flossing does not feel painful and biting into ice cream is not uncomfortable.
This is a picture of ideal gum health. Shockingly however, according to the most recent data available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly half of adults 30 and over have some form of gum disease.
Signs and symptoms of gum disease
Gum disease happens over time – meaning that if caught early, there is still time to reverse it.
Here are signs that your gums may not be healthy:
- Bleeding when brushing or flossing
- Redness or puffiness
- Receding away from teeth
- Pain or tenderness when brushing, flossing, or consuming anything hot or cold
Receding gums could be a sign of stress or sleep apnea
Grinding your teeth while you sleep puts a lot of pressure on your teeth and jawbones, which can ultimately lead to gum recession. While grinding your teeth can happen due to health issues like anxiety and stress, it’s also commonly linked with sleep apnea.
Recession might also happen because of a toothbrush that’s too hard or too old, or brushing with too much pressure. Replace toothbrushes every three to four months and only use toothbrushes with soft bristles.
Pale gums could indicate anemia
Very pale gums can be a sign of anemia. This blood disorder happens when your red blood cell count is low or you don’t have enough of the iron-rich protein hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is what gives blood its color, and without enough of it, you may notice paleness – including in your gums.
Dry gums could indicate immune system problems
Immune disorders, such as rheumatic diseases or lupus can affect the mucous membranes of your eyes and mouth, which can result in lowered levels of tears and saliva. When your gums are dry, it can contribute to gum disease – or make it worse. If you have gums that are dry enough to bother you, it’s worth bringing up with your dentist.
Other links to disease
Diabetes – If you have uncontrolled diabetes, your body can have a harder time controlling bacteria in the mouth. This can make gum disease more severe and take longer to heal.
Heart disease – There may be an association between gum disease and heart disease. While neglecting your oral health won’t necessarily cause heart disease, enough research has linked gum disease and heart disease to suggest that there’s an association between the two that’s not fully understood.
Premature birth – There’s also some evidence that maternal gum disease could be associated with a risk of premature birth (giving birth at 37 weeks or earlier) and low birth weight (5.5 pounds or less).
Preventing gum problems
You should be brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes with a soft-bristled toothbrush, as well as flossing once a day.
Regular professional teeth cleanings are also essential. Even with good brushing and cleaning habits, these visits are essential for maintaining healthy teeth and catching the signs of gum disease early. Contact Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group today to book an appointment.