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The Link Between Gum Health & Mental Health

Brunette woman wearing a red blouse looking anxious about her gum health and mental health by a cluster of green foliage

Our health and wellness in one part of the body impacts the rest of the body and the mouth is no exception. At Summit Family Dentistry we like to say that taking care of your teeth is a key component of maintaining your overall health. In this post, we discuss the connection between your gum health and mental health.

Gum Disease Development

In stage one of gum disease, called gingivitis, the gums become red, inflamed, and sensitive, and may even bleed during flossing and brushing. Untreated gingivitis can progress to periodontitis, in which the gums begin to pull away from the teeth. As plaque and bacteria spread below the gumline into these pockets, the tissues and bone in which the teeth are rooted become irritated, inflamed, and infected. Further destruction of the gum tissue leads to ever deepening pockets and eventual bone destruction. Teeth affected by gum disease ultimately become loose, fall out, or need to be extracted to protect the integrity of the surrounded tissues.

Issues Caused By Poor Gum Health

Tooth Loss & Self Confidence

Inflammation and infection of the gums, if left unchecked, will eventually result in tooth loss. Since smiles are a huge part of our daily life, missing teeth from complications with periodontal disease can lead to difficulty eating and a reluctance to smile or show teeth when we talk. Missing teeth can cause decreased self-confidence and a subsequent withdrawal from social participation.

If you are missing teeth, we can help improve the look and function of your smile! Consult with us about our restorative dentistry services, including bridges, dentures, dental implants, and implant-supported dentures.

Tooth Loss & Anxiety/Depression

Some people may avoid going to the dentist because of dental anxiety. But several studies have found that there is a significant association between tooth loss and increased anxiety and depression. Therefore, neglecting your oral health because of dental anxiety is likely to contribute to increased anxiety about your teeth!

If you suffer from dental anxiety, don’t let your fear stand in the way of your smile. Our Littleton dental office offers a variety of relaxing options to help you feel comfortable throughout your treatment, including dental sedation (nitrous oxide, oral conscious sedation, IV sedation, and general anesthesia), Pandora, Netflix, noise-cancelling headphones, and blankets.

Healthy Teeth Contribute to a Healthy Mind

Inflammation is what happens when our bodies fight the bacteria around the gums in gum disease. This is concerning enough in the present, but there is a theory that the presence of inflammation, particularly periodontal disease early in life, greatly increases the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Infection in the gums can enter the bloodstream and lead to brain-related issues, like dementia.

Schedule a Checkup Today!

Gum disease is definitely something you want to catch early. The best way to do this is to come visit our team here at Summit Family Dentistry every six months for a professional cleaning and checkup. We’ll help you keep both your gums and teeth healthy and strong. Contact us today to schedule your next appointment.

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Summit Family Dentistry

Summit Family Dentistry