Gum Health and Signs of Trouble

Gums Can Tell Your Health

If you experience these unhealthy signs in your gums, do not ignore them. They are red and puffy; they bleed, hurt or are tender when you brush or floss; they’re receding away from your teeth. You may have gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease, but at this stage it is still a reversible situation. If it goes untreated, gingivitis can progress into periodontitis. The state of your gums gives you a picture of your oral health, and your oral health can give you clues to whether something’s up with the rest of your body functions. Here’s what you need to know.

Signs and Symptoms of Unhealthy Gums

If your gums are receding, you may be stressed out or have sleep apnea. Receding gums can result from bruxism which puts a lot of pressure on your gum line, teeth, and jawbones, causing gums to pull away. It can lead to tooth sensitivity if roots are exposed. Bruxism may also be due to health issues like anxiety and stress, it’s also commonly linked with sleep apnea.

Sores on your gums could be an indication of herpes. They can cause oral outbreaks, known as cold sores. They can be painful, often popping up on the borders of the mouth, or break out inside the mouth, including on the gums. Before they show up, you’ll feel tingling, burning, or itching. An outbreak can last for days, and it can take two to four weeks for the blisters to fully heal. Get in touch with your doctor for an antiviral drug to accelerate healing.

Pale gums could be a sign of anemia. Very pale gums can be a sign of anemia, a blood disorder when your red blood cell count is low or you don’t have enough of the iron-rich protein hemoglobin, which gives blood its color. If you have pale gums and other symptoms of anemia, like fatigue and dizziness, consult your doctor – especially because pale gums may be masking signs of gum disease.

Dry gums could be a symptom of immune system issues. Sjogren’s syndrome is an autoimmune disorder affecting the mucous membranes of your eyes and mouth, that result in lowered levels of tears and saliva, leading to dry mouth, including your gums. When your gums are dry, it can contribute to or exacerbate gum disease. If dry gums bother you, bring it up with your doctor or dentist.

Gum disease and diabetes also share a link. If you have uncontrolled diabetes, this can make gum disease more severe and take longer to heal. Conversely, having a bacterial infection in your mouth can tax the body and make it harder to control diabetes. If you have these conditions, it’s important to address both with your doctors instead of just one or the other.

What To Expect When You Neglect Your Oral Health

The Picture of Neglect

Some dentists say that they’ve observed that the most negligent group when it comes to oral health is that set of people in their twenties. These young adults call themselves health-conscious, mind you, and are very much aware about healthy foods, healthy lifestyles and practices. They have the discipline to work out at the gym, attend yoga classes, and engage in sports. However, if you ask them about the state of their teeth and gums, they’d say they’re fine, nothing is painful and their teeth and gums look good.

Putting their energy, resources and their time into the pursuit of their general health, they tend to forget their mouth. If ever they see their dentist, who will tell them about a bad bite, a small cavity, a little puffiness in the gums, these people will likely shrug off the advice, not feeling anything wrong. After all, regular dental visits are not exactly at the top of their list.

Down the road at some time, a compromised tooth will become painful or sensitive, or their gums start to bleed, then only then will they seek dental care. The fix by this time may require more extensive repair or replacement. It doesn’t take long for significant damage to be done. In as little as a year and a half, neglect can create a torrent of issues. Some will be difficult if not impossible to fix.

Many patients in their 50s will have unsalvageable teeth which could have been saved if they were helped by their dentists 30 years earlier. Basically, if you don’t see your dentist for two years, you’re already compromising your health. If you skip visits for five years, you’re going to see some bone loss. Ten years without professional dental care and you’re almost certain to have severe bone loss.

Bone loss is asymptomatic, people just don’t feel it happening. Bones become less dense and more fragile as one gets older, becoming prone to breakage. Unfortunately, harmful bacteria in the mouth hasten the process of disintegration in the bone supporting the teeth. Teeth can loosen in their sockets and fall out and nothing can be done at this point to stimulate bone growth. Bone loss can be prevented with good habits that diminish bacterial growth in the mouth so that teeth are preserved longer.

Being mortals, we are designed to age and die. Our teeth and gums will eventually give way, but we can slow it down by paying attention to our oral health.


Caring About Oral Health in Bellingham

If you are concerned about your overall health, certainly your oral health is part and parcel of your well-being. Keep your regular visits with us and preserve your dental health for the longest time possible.

Less Emergency Visits with Proper Dental Care

Benefits of Preventive Oral Care Plans

If you are a health provider or the patient, did you know that with a preventive care benefit, you can reduce the times you have to go to the emergency department of hospitals and even hospitalizations?

If dental services are integrated more tightly into the medical care system, it can cut utilization by those people with chronic conditions. Research shows that those with chronic illnesses but without dental coverage through medical insurance companies had a higher rate of hospital stays than those with dental benefits. On the other and, those who had dental coverage but did not use the benefit for preventive services had 3 times higher incidence rate of emergency department visits than those who took advantage of routine dental care.

Having quality dental coverage, and using it for preventive care, can contribute to overall good health. Research reinforce how integrating medical and dental coverage and care can be associated with improved health and lower costs for those who suffer from chronic medical issues.

We know already that poor dental health has been linked to an increase in heart disease and that gum disease and other dental issues contribute directly to cardiovascular events. There are strong correlations between oral health and the successful management of chronic conditions.

Research found that persons with serious oral health conditions spent twice as much as other members on healthcare expenses. Individuals with dental health issues are also 25 percent more likely to suffer from heart disease, two times as likely to experience an emergency visit or hospitalization, and are also more likely to be diagnosed with autoimmune conditions, kidney disease, and anemia.

Seeking oral care throughout life can help detect more serious problems still to happen. Unfortunately, dental benefits are not always available, or often financially separated from traditional insurance coverage. This affects the access for individuals on the lower end of the socioeconomic strata. Individuals in the lowest income brackets are half as likely as well-off patients to visit a dentist. This situation calls for more concern if good oral health is targeted to be available to all.


Preventive Care with Benefits in Bellingham

Know that at Tetrick Family Dentistry, we practice preventive dentistry on all our cases. Proper preventive care avoids or delays oral diseases that are also linked to chronic health issues. Visit us in Bellingham.