Do your gums bleed when you brush your teeth? The occurrence is common, though rarely accompanied by physical discomfort, and many people consider it normal and harmless. Unfortunately, those many people are wrong; bleeding is not a normal function of healthy oral tissue, and if your gums do it, then they may be in trouble.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention, gum disease affects more than halof of the American adult population, and is the number one cause of adult tooth loss. But, your smile is not the only thing that it can threaten. Gum disease often remains for life once it develops, and if not controlled with regular care, it can have a negative impact on the rest of your health, as well.
The Story of Gum Disease
The idea of a relationship between your oral and physical health is not a new concept. In fact, scientists around the world have studied the oral-systemic connection for decades, and the results prove that maintaining good oral health can have resounding effects on your physical wellbeing. For instance, by studying the mechanisms behind gum disease, experts have learned that those same mechanisms can be contributing factors to a number of systemic illnesses.
The beginning stage of gum disease, called gingivitis, is marked by red, swollen, and bleeding gums. The inflamed condition is a response to a bacterial infection that results from excessive dental plaque along your gum line. Aside from irritating your gums, some of these germs can manipulate your immune system’s inflammatory reaction. Fooling your immune system allows oral bacteria to survive, but the inflammation continues as long as the germs remain. In time, the unchecked infection works to destroy your gum tissue and supporting jawbone structure, affecting your ability to retain your natural teeth.
The Spread of Danger
When your gums bleed because they’re compromised by disease, they can allow the germs in your mouth to enter your bloodstream. Although oral bacteria inhabit the mouth by definition, the processes that make them dangerous to your smile can make them a similar hazard to any other soft body tissues and organs. Studies have shown that the infectious presence of oral bacteria can accelerate inflammatory heart disease, supporting the theory that the importance of your oral health extends beyond your teeth and gums.