Taking care of your gums as well as your teeth is necessary for good health
Science is turning up ever more reasons to “watch your mouth.” Preventing gum disease (periodontitis) the leading cause of adult tooth loss, is gaining new urgency as research shows that gum disease can contribute to illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, etc.
The problem is a spillover of bacteria and inflammatory agents from the mouth into the bloodstream, which bustles them off to the rest of the body. Before you get periodontis you will likely have swollen gums (called gingivitis). If that happens, see your dentist now. In the meantime take care of your mouth.
How many people suffer from swollen gums?
According to some sources, more than 50% of all adults in the US have swollen gums surrounding at least three of their teeth. Almost one-third have periodontal disease, and more than a quarter of adults over age 70 have lost all their teeth.
How serious is it to have swollen gums?
If you don’t remove food and germs with regular brushing and flossing, sticky plaque deposits can form on and between your teeth. These deposits may contain bacteria that cause your gums to become irritated, red and swollen. Untreated gingivitis can lead to a more serious gum disease called periodontitis
If you have periodontal disease which can be the consequence of swollen gums, you are twice as likely to have a stroke caused by a blocked blood vessel. Your risk of heart disease goes up as well because the bacteria that cause tooth and gum decay can enter your blood stream and damage your vessel walls. If you have diabetes, lung disorders, or other diseases, gum disease may make your problems worse.
For more on gum disease, click here.
A home remedy
If you are feeling down in the mouth because you do have painful swollen gums, what can you do about it as a home remedy before you see your dentist?
Place a warm, moist tea bag against your gums for 15 minutes at a time, four times a day, for four days. This natural poultice could reduce pain and swelling and have you smiling again.
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