Oral Inflammation: Take it Seriously!

Any type of inflammation impacts your body, both in the short term and the long term. How you live today impacts your future. Getting the flu today, for example, increases your chances of developing heart disease by 20 percent in 10 to 15 years. As a dentist, I tell my patients all the time that what happens in their mouths affects their entire body. If your mouth has inflammation and infection, then so does your entire body—and it affects you now and in the future.

PRISH: 5 Cardinal Signs of Acute Inflammation

  • Pain: The inflamed area is likely to be painful, especially when touched. Chemicals that stimulate nerve endings are released, making the area much more sensitive.
  • Redness: Capillaries are filled up with more blood than usual.
  • Immobility: There may be some loss of function.
  • Swelling: Caused by fluid accumulation.
  • Heat: More blood in the affected area makes it feel hot to the touch.

Periodontitis starts out as gingivitis, which causes redness, swelling and occasionally pain. We don’t normally notice the heat because our mouths are already warm. And unlike an inflammation around a toe or finger, we don’t notice lack of mobility. Periodontitis requires professional help from a dentist or hygienist. Tackle oral inflammation while it is at the gingivitis stage by brushing, flossing and using a Waterpik.

Healthy tissue does not bleed and should not be swollen. What you do today matters for your health today and tomorrow.


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