Many people, through no fault of their own, don’t realize that having a mouth that is unhealthy can cause other health problems throughout the body. You’ve heard the saying, “you don’t know what you don’t know” right? Well, many people have never been taught good oral health care!

A hygienist who once worked for me had many patients tell her that their gums would bleed when they brushed or flossed their teeth. They told her that for them, this was normal. She would reply, “Is it normal for your head to bleed when you brush your hair?” Just how your head should not bleed when you brush your hair, your gums should not bleed when you are brushing or flossing your teeth.

Bleeding, red gums when you brush and floss, bad breath that will not go away despite your efforts, a change in the way your teeth fit together, loose teeth, and yellow build up around teeth that doesn’t come off, all are signs and symptoms of gum disease.

Gum disease, or periodontitis, is where bacteria get below the gums leading to a bacterial infection between the tooth and the gums. The bacteria excrete toxins causing the gums to become red, swollen, and inflamed. They pull away from the teeth. The body responds to the bacterial infection in the gums with an inflammatory response. This causes the bone that is holding the teeth in your mouth to dissolve away and not return. Pus starts to be excreted from in between the teeth and gums.

Bone loss from bacterial infection in the gums is what determines the diagnosis of gum disease or periodontitis.

Why does having gum disease matter?
If you have gum disease, called periodontal disease, it can contribute to the following health
1. It makes it harder to control your blood sugar if you are diabetic.
2. Breast cancer has been linked to gum disease by the American Cancer Association
3. Heart attacks
4. Other forms of cancer
5. Inflammatory bowel disease
6. High blood pressure
7. Pregnancy complications such as pre-term and low birth weight babies
8. Stroke
9. Prostatitis
10. Pulmonary Disease
11. Osteoporosis
12. Anemia
13. Alzheimer’s disease

For more information, please visit the website of the American Dental Association ( for more information. I sincerely hope that this information will help you to make informed decisions regarding not just the health of your mouth, but also the health of your entire body.