Healthy vs Unhealthy Gums: How It’s an Indicator of Overall Wellness

46% of adults 30 or older have some form of gum infection, and 9% have a severe case.

Dental health affects more than your mouth. It can lead to or worsen a variety of other conditions if issues are left untreated.

Proper dental hygiene starts with taking care of your gums. That’s why it’s so important to understand the differences between healthy vs. unhealthy gums.

Read our guide to learn how to determine the health of your gums and how it lets you know more about the health of your whole body.

How to Identify Healthy vs. Unhealthy Gums

Gum disease is a serious issue that is often painless and difficult to identify. Knowing how to tell the difference between healthy vs. unhealthy gums helps you prevent and treat oral issues before they affect your whole body.

Sometimes, your gums may “pull away” or recede from your teeth. This can be a sign of stress or a more serious condition such as periodontal disease or diabetes.

Your gums should also be the proper color. Pale gums indicate anemia, a lack of red blood cells that can cause a variety of other conditions. 

How Unhealthy Gums Cause and Indicate Other Health Problems

There are several oral conditions to watch out for. Gingivitis and periodontitis are two forms of gum infection, the latter of which is the most severe. Untreated cavities are the most common condition.

Poor dental health can also be a sign of other related conditions. In fact, there are at least 120 other conditions associated with dental problems. 

1 in 4 people with sleep apnea grind their teeth when they try to sleep. Gum sores can indicate the presence of herpes.

Pale gums aren’t the only thing to watch out for. Dry or inflamed gums suggest an autoimmune condition like Sjogren’s syndrome.

Diabetes can also worsen gum disease. An oral infection makes it harder for the body to control glucose, and diabetes increases a patient’s risk of infection. Nearly 1 in 5 people with periodontitis have undiagnosed diabetes.

Heart disease and gum disease may cause and/or contribute to each other. They share risk factors, and bacteria in the mouth can infect the entire bloodstream.

Age is a risk factor for dental issues, but dental problems can also contribute to age-related diseases like Alzheimer’s and strokes. More research is needed to establish why these conditions correlate, but a connection is clear.

Don’t ignore signs of unhealthy gums or other oral health issues. They tell you about the health of your entire body.

See a medical professional the minute you notice any symptoms. Check out Healthy Smiles Dental for help with all your dental problems.

How to Maintain Healthy Teeth and Gums

Being able to differentiate between healthy vs. unhealthy gums keeps you from suffering from painful oral conditions. It also protects you from other conditions like heart disease and diabetes.

Keeping your teeth healthy with regular brushing and checkups is one of the best things you can do for the overall health of your body.

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