If you want to take a gander at the part of your body with the biggest assortment of bacteria, go to the mirror and open your mouth.
It may be unappetizing, but it's true. Your mouth is a cornucopia of germs. And those germs can trigger gum disease—which may affect more than just your oral health.
Periodontitis is the medical term for serious gum disease.
The buildup of bacteria and inflammation that comes with it can lead to tooth loss and bloody gums. But the problems associated with periodontitis may not stop at the mouth.
Research suggests that gum disease is linked to other serious conditions, such as lung and heart disease.
In pregnant women, periodontitis is linked to an increased risk for having an early delivery or a low-birth-weight baby.
And having gum disease may make it hard for people with diabetes to control their blood sugar.
Practicing good oral hygiene is the best way to help avoid gum disease. That means:
• Brushing your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
• Flossing every day to clean between teeth.
• Not smoking.
• Seeing your dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings.
And if you're planning on becoming pregnant, be sure to take extra care of your teeth and gums.
Source: American Dental Association