A smile is a powerful thing! It costs very little to do and yet can yield a lot of positive outcomes, like more friendships, better job prospects, and a happier life in general.

There are many documented studies all around the world that prove the power of a smile. One British study showed that smiling stimulates the brain in the same way receiving $25,000 does. An amazing 30-year study out of UC Berkeley measured the smiles of teenagers in their yearbook photos, and collected data in their later years like test scores, relationship fulfillment, and how inspiring they were to others. Those with the widest smiles consistently scored the highest.

But you don’t need science to prove how much a smile is worth. Just take note of all the people you encounter every day, and then see how many of them smile and brighten up your mood. Smiling is contagious (again, scientifically proven) so not only do you feel better about yourself, but everyone else feels better too! As Mother Teresa once said, “We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.”

Gum disease is the enemy of a good smile

Without good dental hygiene, this almighty tool loses its power. A study from the University of Michigan revealed that people who exhibit signs and symptoms of gum disease, no matter how severe, were less likely to smile at their full extent, and often times end up covering their mouths to smile or laugh.

Gum disease — inflammation of the gum line that can affect the bone and surrounding teeth — is diagnosed in millions of Americans. Millions more live without realizing they’re showing signs of it, because symptoms are relatively painless. Some of the early signs of gum disease may include:

  • Red or swollen gums
  • Sensitive bleeding gums or discharge around gumlines
  • Receding gumlines
  • Chronic bad breath, or bad taste in mouth
  • Loose teeth

There are also three different stages or degrees of gum disease: gingivitis, periodontitis, and advanced periodontitis. Knowing what stage of gum disease you’re at will help inform your dentist on the best treatment for your condition.

It’s also important to note that gum disease can do more than just harm your smile; it can harm your overall health, too. Studies have shown strong links between periodontal disease and heart disease, stroke, stomach issues, diabetes, and even complications in pregnancy.

How do I prevent gum disease?

Like you do with any disease, prevention is key. Good, thorough, and daily oral care is of course necessary, but routine dental check-ups are where you’ll get the best information. Your dentist will actively look for signs of gum disease and work with you on changing your daily routine if they are concerned about your oral health.

The recommended daily at-home oral care plan is to brush your teeth twice a day, for at least two minutes each time. Use mouthwash whenever you can, and floss your teeth at least once a day BEFORE you brush. Limit the amount of times you smoke, and of course, stay away from drugs. Taking care of your mouth is taking care of your life.

Make sure to schedule your dental exam today to check for signs of — and to receive more information on the prevention — of gum disease. Schedule now with our Long Beach dental office by using our online system, or by calling 562-434-6414.