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NC dentist highlights need to address health risks of bleeding gums

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Wednesday, October 4, 2023   

Bleeding gums may seem like a minor annoyance, but experts warn they could indicate underlying health problems, which should not be taken lightly.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly half of adults ages 30 and older in the U.S. suffer from some form of gum disease.

Dr. Tristan Parry, a fellow at the Academy of General Dentistry and dentist in Summerfield, emphasized bleeding gums can be signs of gum disease, but also other serious health issues. He noted the real concern lies in the risks of inflammation.

"Being able to keep that inflammatory risk low helps with these other diseases, keeping the risks lower of those as well," Parry explained. "Some of the big ones are going to be things like the cardiovascular, right? So, heart attack, stroke. Low-weight birth is an issue."

Parry pointed out poor oral hygiene and bacteria are often the culprits behind inflammation, leading to bleeding gums and swelling. Studies reveal as people age, the likelihood of developing gum disease increases. Around 70% of adults over age 65 are at particular risk.

To prevent bleeding gums, Parry explained it is essential for a person to step up their oral hygiene. He recommended focusing on brushing teeth near the gum line and flossing. He added regular cleanings and consultations with a dental professional are also needed to mitigate the potential health risks of bleeding gums.

"It's just like anything else in medicine," Parry stressed. "The longer you wait, the worse it gets, so then, if you wait longer, it gets worse. It's a compounding issue."

Parry emphasized the crucial connection between dental health and overall heath, adding research shows a correlation between good oral health and longevity.

Disclosure: The North Carolina Dental Society contributes to our fund for reporting on Education, and Health Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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