What do healthy gums look like? I also want to know about perfect health and gums. I have read before somewhere on this site or some other paleo site, that this guy went to his dentist for a checkup after adopting paleo and his dentist said his gums were really healthy, and how he can tell that the guy was in perfect health because his gums had this specific quality(I don't remember if he said if it was shiny or some other quality). Do any of you know what this is? How do you know someone is in perfect health by looking at their gums?
asked bySoul (1423)
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on July 13, 2012
at 11:55 PM
The mouth is one of many parts of the body that is permanently colonised by a variety of bacterial species.
As with the gut, not all bacteria are commensal (able to co-exist without harming host) and certain diets - particularly those with processed carbs - can change the balance of dominant bacteria to less commensal ones that can cause gingivitis (inflammation of the gum) and periodonditis (degeneration of the gum and underlying tissues including bone).
It's notable that for many people, avoidance of refined carbs will cause a significant increase in oral health almost immediately - something that the dentist will also observe.
To be clear, it's not the bacteria themselves that damage tissue but our immune response to those bacteria, which can result in chronic oral inflammation. As immune response varies from person to person (genetics and other reasons) some people have more severe reactions, which is why two people on the same diet can have very different oral health.
Ultimately, for those affected, bacteria from the mouth can cause bacteraemia (bacteria enter the bloodstream) and infect the heart causing endocarditis (inflammation of the heart). It's a surprise to many that not only tooth extraction can cause bacteraemia but also tooth brushing.
Ironically, frequent tooth brushing is promoted to compensate for consumption of refined carb foods yet this practice may also be potentially damaging to health. This is not to say that tooth brushing should be avoided but that bleeding should be addressed and other methods that are less likely to breach gum tissue in order to disrupt bacterial film be used , e.g. water picks.
So to answer your question, healthy gums = health, and a healthy mouth can definitely be considered a surrogate marker for overall health.
on July 16, 2012
at 03:33 PM
Pink and stippled are the mark of healthy gums. Pink as opposed to red which is a sign of inflammation. Stippling is the texture of an orange or lemon. ie-not smooth. It shows good gum health. It is indicative of good overall health but without checking other health markers, such as lipid and hormone levels, or at least a good health history to draw that overall conclusion is most likely speculation.
on July 13, 2012
at 02:55 PM
Agree with Michael that it's probably not a "be all and end all way of viewing health", but unhealthy gums that bleed easily and develop pockets can be a warning sign of general inflammation and/or nutritional deficiencies.
on July 13, 2012
at 12:54 PM
Im not sure if its a be all and end all way of viewing health. However, healthy gums are usually pink and non-inflamed as opposed to red and inflamed. Unhealthy gums usually bleed quiet easily from rough surfaces or penetration such as a stiff bristled tooth brush.