Gum disease and health


Gingivitis, periodontal disease, gum disease, bleeding gums, excess plaque – whatever you call it – it needs to be taken seriously. Gum disease has been linked to heart disease and strokes.

A study in the journal Circulation in 2005 found that gum disease is linked to narrowing of the arteries (atherosclerosis), which in turn is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and strokes.

It has not been proved that gum disease causes heart disease and strokes – they could all be a result of other factors – but it is believed that the bacteria that cause gum disease can travel in the blood activating the immune system and causing the arteries to thicken.

Diabetics often suffer from gum disease too, and studies have shown that the effect goes both ways. Poorly managed diabetics are likely to have more gum disease, and gum disease leads to poorly managed diabetes, and diabetes can be managed more easily if the gum disease is brought under control. Jack Caton, D.D.S., M.S., President of the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) has said:

“Controlling your periodontal disease may help you control your diabetes.”

Plaque is the film of bacteria over the teeth. Many of the bacteria are harmless, but some cause gingivitis. Gingivitis means that the gums are swollen and puffy, and will bleed when you brush them. Bleeding when you brush your teeth is not a sign to stop cleaning your teeth, but a sign that your gums need help. Long standing gingivitis is known as periodontal disease. At this stage the bacteria are not only affecting the teeth but also the tissues supporting the teeth. You may get gum abscesses. Periodontal disease is the many reason for tooth loss in adults as the bone is attacked and the tooth become loose.

So what to do to stop gum disease? Here are some simple suggestions:

  • Eat a good diet with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables.
  • If you smoke, cut down or preferably give up.
  • Floss your teeth regularly.
  • Visit your hygienist and dentist regularly.
  • Curcumin, from turmeric, can help reduce inflammation and give your gums chance to heal. There are lots of curcumin supplements on the market, but this is the one I recommend above all others.: Simply Naturals Curcumin. It’s in a liquid capsule, and is easily absorbed, unlike a lot of curcumin on the market, particularly that sold as tablets.

Whatever you do, don’t just ignore gum problems.