Can unhealthy gums affect my health?

For some people, unhealthy gums can lead to gum disease, which has been linked to systemic diseases. You can practice good oral hygiene by always brushing your teeth twice a day with an ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste, cleaning between your teeth once a day with floss or another interdental cleaner, replacing your toothbrush every three or four months and by eating a balanced diet and limiting between-meal snacks.

Yes, unhealthy gums that are left untreated can progress to the more serious form of gum disease, periodontitis. Periodontitis increases the risk of infection developing in other parts of the body. Poor oral hygiene and periodontitis may be linked to pneumonia, as bacteria in the mouth may travel into the lungs, to cause infection or worsening of lung conditions. Chronic inflammation from periodontitis has also been associated with the development of cardiovascular problems, such as heart disease, blockages of blood vessels and clogged arteries, and strokes, as well as to premature birth, diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. While these associations have been suggested, more research is needed to establish each of these relationships.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.