The gums are designed to form an impervious seal around your teeth, preventing bacteria and viruses from getting into your bloodstream. When this seal breaks down you have the gum disease gingivitis or periodontitis. This breakdown of your first line of defence in your mouth can represent a wound the size of the palm of your hand, allowing bacteria and viruses to get into your bloodstream and affect other body systems, for example oral bacteria have been found to contribute to heart disease.
The signs of gum disease include bleeding, bad breath, gums feel “itchy” and swollen, teeth are sensitive to cold air and water.
Gum disease cannot generally be reversed if it progresses so prevention is most important. Unfortunately it doesn’t tend to be very noticeable in the early stages so is easily missed by people who aren’t regular with their dental examinations.
The current pandemic emphasises the importance of having a full dental examination so that any gum disease, or indeed other dental issues that can increase the infection burden of your body can be detected and treated, and that “border” can be closed to infection.
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