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Gum disease is one of the most common dental problems adults face, but gum disease can begin at just about any age. Gum disease often develops slowly and without causing any pain. Sometimes you may not notice any signs until the disease is serious and you are in danger of losing teeth.The good news is:

  • gum disease can almost always be prevented,
  • if it starts, it can be treated and
  • it can even be turned around (or reversed) in its early stages.

Healthy Gums and Your Overall Health

Many studies suggest that the health of your gums influences your overall health. For example:

  • Heart health: Moderate to severe gum disease has been shown to increase inflammation levels throughout the entire body. Some studies suggest that inflammation from severe gum disease may be linked to the risk of stroke as well as heart disease, which is also an inflammatory disease.
  • Lung health: Some research suggests that periodontal health may help promote lung health for people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Periodontal disease can also increase the risk of respiratory infections such as pneumonia. This may occur from inhaling bacteria into the respiratory tract.
  • Nutritional health: If you lose teeth from gum disease, it may become harder to eat healthy foods such as crisp fruits and vegetables. Chewing problems can lead to poor nutrition, which, in turn, can cause other problems, including fatigue and dizziness.

9 Tips for Keeping Healthy Gums

So what do you need to do to keep your gums healthy? Here are the basics:

  1. Brush your teeth twice daily with fluoride toothpaste. Make sure to brush along the gum line in addition to your teeth.
  2. Replace worn-out toothbrushes at least every three to four months because they can injure your gums.
  3. Floss between teeth or use an inter-dental cleaner once a day.
  4. Rinse with an antiseptic mouthwash at least once a day.
  5. See your dentist for checkups and cleanings two or more times a year. If gums are bleeding, don’t wait. See your dentist right away.
  6. Keep your dentist up to date about any changes in your overall health, especially if you are pregnant or have a disease such as diabetes. In these cases, pay special care to your dental health. You may be more susceptible to gingivitis.
  7. Limit sugary snacks and drinks.
  8. Eat a balanced diet.
  9. If you’re a smoker, do everything possible to quit. People who smoke are more likely to have a buildup of plaque and tartar.