By Bae Ji-sook
Many of us know that bad gums hurt and bring bad breath. Periodontitis happens when one does not brush his or her teeth well enough or has a physical constitution that weakens the gums. It can make gums bleed or hurt and caused gaps between the teeth.
According to the Korean National Health Insurance Corporation, about 20 percent of the subscribers have visited dentists over gum disorders. Experts assume the number of those who have periodontitis, but do not have medical treatment could be up to 50 percent of the population.
Moreover, Prof. Park Sung-hee of Hallym University said that people over 35 years old have 75 percent more chance to have gum disease.
We know little about how bad gums can cause or worsen diseases in other parts of the body. Dentists are warning that contamination causing gum trouble can cause heart disease, strokes, premature births and worsen diabetic or respiratory problems.
Pregnant women suffering from the gum disease have a seven times higher chance of giving birth to underweight children or prematurely. The disease in the gum can proliferate substances causing such disorders, doctors say.
Periodontal disease causes or worsens heart disease. Germs inside the mouth get into the coronary arteries and stick to plaque easily. This sometimes interferes with blood flow, nutrient absorption and oxygenation there and in the worst case results in heart attack.
Those with diabetes should watch their gums carefully,, as they are more likely to develop periodontal disease. In fact, such a disorder is the sixth most commonly found complication among diabetes patients.
Therefore, those whose gums bleed; or who have bad breath; have heart or respiratory organ disease as well as osteoporosis; are planning to get pregnant in the near future; have more than one family member who has periodontal disease; or have had swelling in the mouth for more than two weeks should visit their dentist.
Doc. Kang Je-hun of White Dental Clinic suggested nine rules to keep your gums healthy;
- Always brush the teeth after eating. Use floss at least once a day.
- Avoid eating sugar, soda and ready-cooked foods. Eat fruits, vegetables and calcium-containing foods more often.
- Have a regular check-up ― at least once a year.
- Exercise regularly.
- Quit smoking; half of the gum-related diseases are due to smoking.
- Be careful when pregnant or undergoing menopause.
- Try to lessen stress.
- Inform your dentist of the medicines you are taking.
- Do not use drugs or drink too much alcohol.
Sources provided by Philips Sonic Care and Seoul Dental Association.