When it comes to keeping tabs on our health, we seem to immediately understand the importance of nutrition, fitness, and adequate sleep to our overall wellness. Maintaining good oral health is just as important, but is sometimes forgotten as a critical part of a healthy lifestyle.

For example, periodontal disease (or gum disease) can have a serious impact on our overall health, and is associated with increased risk of respiratory infections, blood sugar regulation problems in people with diabetes, and even heart disease. According to prevention.com, “People with gum disease are almost twice as likely to suffer from coronary artery disease compared to those don’t have periodontitis.

Periodontal Disease is also believed to be associated with Alzheimer’s Disease. A pathogenic oral bacteria called Spriochetes may cause Alzheimer’s disease and studies have found the presence of spirochetes have been significantly higher in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients. Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common cause of dementia among older people.

Gum disease is estimated to effect around 47.2% of American adults, according to the CDC.

However, gum disease isn’t always painful, so it can sometimes be overlooked—especially in the early stages. Here are seven signs of gum disease you should know:

1) Tender or Bleeding Gums – Are you gums more tender than normal, or do they bleed when you are brushing or flossing?
2) Red or Swollen Gums – Do you gums appear unusually red or swollen?
3) Bad Breath – Do you have chronic bad breath that doesn’t improve with brushing or rinsing?
4) Painful Chewing – Is it difficult to chew in certain areas of your mouth?
5) Sensitive Teeth – Are your teeth sensitive to temperature variation or to the touch?
6) Loose Teeth – Are any of your teeth feeling loose or wiggly?
7) Receding Gums – Do your teeth seem as though they’ve gotten longer? Do you notice your gums receding?

These are seven of the most common signs of gum disease. If you have any of the symptoms listed above, you should consult with your dentist right away about checking for periodontal disease, and treatment options. Of course, scheduling regular dental checkups is the first step to excellent oral health, so be sure to see your dentist every six months for a visit.

Kevin Christ, DMD treats patients in Centennial, Colorado. To learn more about his services, please visit www.5280dentist.co or call the office at 303-792-9100.