Beauty issue: Inflamed gums or excessive bleeding after brushing and flossing.
These painful symptoms may be warning signs of gingivitis, the early stage of gum disease. If left untreated, gum disease can become the more severe periodontitis (literally meaning “inflammation around the teeth”). Gum disease is typically caused by subpar brushing and flossing habits that allow plaque—a thick buildup of bacteria—to stick to teeth, which then inflames the surrounding gums. But what’s going on in your mouth says a lot about your health and beauty. Symptoms such as bleeding or swollen gums, bad breath or tenderness in the mouth can give insight to larger issues within the body.
“Not taking care of one's teeth can have damaging, and even fatal results,” says Thomas Connelly, D.D.S., a cosmetic dentist in NYC. He says issues such as prolonged swelling or bleeding of the gums should be treated the same way you would any other type of health issue. “A person wouldn't ignore a persistent cold or prolonged sharp pain in their chest or arms and legs, so it is just as important to treat the mouth with the same sense of vigilance and consideration.”
Luckily, healthy teeth may be just a Starbucks away. Drinking green tea daily may promote healthy gums. A study that included 940 men, ages 49 to 59, who drank the potent polyphenol-laden brew regularly, had superior periodontal health than those who sipped on less, research in the Journal of Periodontology reports. “Periodontal disease is not only caused by bacteria but our immune system destroying healthy gum and bone tissue while trying to kill bacteria,” explains Dr. Connelly. “This study shows that the antioxidant catechin, found in green tea, helps reduce inflammation and therefore can decrease the overall damage caused by the immune system's response to the present bacteria.”
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Beauty issue: Excessive thinning and loss of hair—to the point that you see more scalp than strands.
Getting to the root of hair loss can make you want to well, pull your hair out. “It can be genetic but many other factors including diet, hormones, taking medications like beta blockers for high blood pressure, as well as extreme stress can play a role,” says Dr. Sadick.
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