If you’re spitting out blood every time you brush your teeth…if the very word “floss” makes you feel guilty because you haven’t even used the stuff since the Nixon administration…it’s time to take action right now.
It’s not just the fact that poor gums mean longer and more painful trips to the dentist…or having to go in for that dreaded periodontal surgery. It’s not even that your swollen and inflamed gums might make you lose your teeth.
The serious truth is that gum disease could actually KILL you!
New research shows how it can worsen another condition that causes 47,000 deaths a year in the United States alone: kidney disease.
On its own, kidney disease will increase your risk of death by a third over the course of 10 years. But the new study finds that gum disease will make this potentially fatal condition — a Top 10 killer in the U.S. — even deadlier.
Because according to the study in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology, a periodontitis diagnosis increases your 10-year risk of death from chronic kidney disease to 41 percent — which is almost the same exact mortality rate as kidney disease combined with a more commonly-accepted risk factor for mortality, diabetes.
The researchers of the study think it’s because those inflamed gums add to the “systemic inflammatory burden” — which means your body is working overtime to fight off disease from all directions. And you need your immune response to be firing on all cylinders to fight the kidney disease.
Now, don’t get me wrong here. I don’t think anyone has ever had “gum disease” listed as their cause of death. But it’s already been linked to potentially fatal conditions like heart attack and stroke..and severely life-altering conditions like dementia.
Why risk any of that when your gums are so easy to take care of? You only need about 10 minutes a day in total — less than five minutes to floss at least once a day (but ideally twice), and another couple of minutes after every meal to brush.
Some of those rechargeable electric toothbrushes will signal you after two minutes so you don’t stop too early — but brush gently, because those suckers can do a number on already-sensitive gums.
And if you just can’t bear to floss…if you’ve exhausted both the woven and the waxed options…and those single-use “picks” with the little plastic handle just won’t do…there are even more ways to save your gums (and your teeth and your kidneys). Talk to your dentist about using a water flosser (known as the “Waterpik”) or a gum stimulator (an implement with a pointed rubber tip) instead.
If your kidneys could talk, they’d thank you for it.