Dental Hygiene and Your Overall Health
Possible links between healthy gums and other health issues.
In our last blog, we briefly touched on the role of the hygienist at our Bedford dentist. In today’s blog we look in more detail about the importance of taking care, not only of your teeth, but also your gums.
Interestingly, a newspaper recently reported that Manchester United coach Jose Mourinho uses a dental hygienist to regularly check the oral health of his players, as gum problems are increasingly being seen as an early indicator of a number of serious health conditions.
It is not only top sportsmen though, who should take note of this, and is a useful early warning sign to us all.
Gum disease is more prevalent than many people realise, and is, in fact, the largest cause of tooth loss in the UK. This may come as a surprise to many people who believe it to be tooth decay. Whilst tooth decay certainly can lead to the loss of a tooth, it can also often be halted and restored using a dental filling or a crown, thereby avoiding the need for extraction. Gum disease, on the other hand, if left undetected, can cause deterioration of the bone in which the teeth are held. As this bone thins and weakens, teeth are held less securely and may eventually become loose and fall out.
Whilst this is certainly cause for concern, the good news is that minor gum disease is relatively easily managed with professional care if caught in the early stages, with a scale and polish, along with good home dental care. More advanced gum disease may require a ‘deep clean’, which also cleans the teeth below the gum line, down to the roots. This usually requires specialist skills and is not performed by the hygienist.
Whilst previously, gum disease was thought to only affect the mouth; there is increasing research which link gum diseases, especially periodontitis, with a number of serious health issues, including heart disease, strokes and diabetes. Whilst this research is in it’s relatively early stages, the increasing evidence is that this link is likely to be proven, and adds an extra incentive to people to take care of their teeth and gums.
Whilst good oral home care is essential to keep gums healthy, especially interdental cleaning with either dental floss or interdental brushes, professional oral hygiene care is also very important in order to maintain healthy gums. Our friendly and knowledgeable hygienist will not only clean and polish your teeth, but also offers advice on the best cleaning methods, along with any general queries you may have, such as the use of mouthwash, for example.
If you would like to arrange an appointment to see the hygienist at our local Bedford dental practice, please call the surgery today on 01234 819868.