Gum disease and your health!!!


The gums or gingiva (plural: gingivae) consist of the mucosal tissue that lies over the mandible and maxilla inside the mouth. Gum health and disease can have an effect on general health. The gums are part of the soft tissue lining of the mouth. They surround the teeth and provide a seal around them. Unlike the soft tissue linings of the lips and cheeks, most of the gums are tightly bound to the underlying bone which helps resist the friction of food passing over them. Thus when healthy, it presents an effective barrier to the barrage of periodontal insults to deeper tissue. Healthy gums are usually coral pink in light skinned people, and may be naturally darker with melanin pigmentation. Changes in color, particularly increased redness, together with swelling and an increased tendency to bleed, suggest an inflammation that is possibly due to the accumulation of bacterial plaque. Overall, the clinical appearance of the tissue reflects the underlying histology, both in health and disease. When gum tissue is not healthy, it can provide a gateway for periodontal disease to advance into the deeper tissue of the periodontium, leading to a poorer prognosis for long-term retention of the teeth. Both the type of periodontal therapy and homecare instructions given to patients by dental professionals and restorative care are based on the clinical conditions of the tissue. Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is so common yet, it is often overlooked by people. Gum disease not only has serious consequences for your oral health, but it can also be warning signs of potentially life-threatening conditions, such as diabetes, kidney disease, heart disease and stroke, preterm birth, etc. Research also indicates that women with periodontal are three to five times more likely to give birth to a preterm baby compared to women without any form of gum disease.  Perhaps, evaluation of several studies has shown an increased risk of oral cancer with periodontal disease or tooth loss. Therefore, gum health is essential not just for a healthy smile but also for a healthy body. Advanced gum disease, also called periodontitis, is caused by bacterial infection that damages the soft tissue and bone that supports the teeth. The findings, led by researchers from the Tufts University in the US, showed that participants who were edentulous or lacking teeth a sign of severe periodontitis -- had an 80 per cent increase in risk of developing colon cancer. Among those who never smoked, a two-fold higher risk of developing lung cancer and colorectal cancer was observed for participants with severe periodontitis, revealed that study, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.  Another study, published in the British Journal of Cancer, showed that the Treponema denticola (Td) bacteria which causes periodontitis also plays a part in the onset of pancreatic cancer.  The study, by researchers from the University of Helsinki, proved that the bacteria can spread from the mouth to other parts of the body and cause tumours.

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Sarah eve
Editorial Assistant
Journal of Oral Hygiene and Health