Since most of us were children, we have been told the importance of brushing our teeth. While initially as kids, this seemed like more of a chore than anything else, it’s hard not to admit as an adult how important good overall oral health is.
While it is easy for even us as adults to think of our mouths as a rather secular part of our body, much like most other parts of our body, it is connected and involved in a lot more than meets the eye.
For starters, your mouth is one of the first lines of defense against bacteria and virus. Saliva is one of your body’s main defenses against disease-causing organisms, such as bacteria and viruses. It contains antibodies that attack viral pathogens, such as the common cold and HIV. And it contains proteins called histatins, which inhibit the growth of a naturally occurring fungus called Candida albicans. When these proteins are weakened by lack of oral care, then the fungal infection can grow out of control causing what is known as oral thrush. But this is only one thing that can occur from poor oral health.
Oral inflammation due to bacteria (gingivitis) may also play a role in clogged arteries and blood clots. This inflammation may serve as a base for development of atherosclerotic plaques in the arteries, possibly increasing your risk of a heart attack or stroke. Also, severe gum disease may increase the risk of preterm delivery or give birth to a low birth-weight baby. Needless to say, if these aren’t good reasons to maintain good oral health, than we aren’t sure to convince you. But for most, it is here in which lies the problem.
According to a study conducted by the American Academy of Periodontology in 2009 and 2010, it estimates that “47.2 percent, or 64.7 million American adults, have mild, moderate or severe periodontitis, the most advanced form of periodontal disease. In adults 65 and older, prevalence rates increase to 70.1 percent.” This study was published in the Journal of Dental Research, the official publication of the International and American Associations for Dental Research.
So knowing just under half the population suffers from gum disease, makes you wonder why more isn’t be done about it. Our guess is – people don’t know they have it.
While certain risk factors such smoking, hormonal changes, diabetes, drug use, medications and genetic disposition can all contribute to gum disease, for the most part, it is up to us to be proactive in its treatment.
Which brings us to the reason why we are here, and that is to help inform you on the importance of oral health by showing the 10 most common signs of gum disease; and hopefully, encourage you to do something about it.
While like any part of the body, there should be expected some tonal variations throughout the body, however, when it comes to the color of gum tissue, generally speaking, it should be some variance of pink.
Healthy gums will vary from light to dark pink, and as a rule, the redder they appear, the more severe of an infection is present. In some very advanced and severe cases of gum disease, the gums may present themselves a dark crimson or even purple color, which is a sure indication of a long-term and chronic infection. In these instances, loss of teeth is likely.
And a special note for all of you smokers out there (tobacco or other), the fact that you smoke will likely give your gums a healthy pink color in spite of an infection being present. This is because the poisonous smoke starves the gums of oxygen and damages capillaries, which results in your gums staying pink.