Obtaining good oral health is one of the most important things you can do for your teeth and gums. This can be accomplished by brushing and flossing daily and seeing your dentist to receive a professional cleaning and exam every six months.
Poor oral hygiene, along with untreated gum disease, can significantly decrease quality of life. There is recent research indicating a correlation between chronic periodontal ďgumĒ disease and the development of heart disease. Gum disease leads a way for bacteria to enter the bloodstream where they affect the blood vessels. This could cause blood clots leading to a heart attack.
What is gum disease? Gum disease occurs when there is an inflammation of the gums that will progress to affect the surrounding bone supporting your teeth. It begins by bacterial plaque not removed by brushing and flossing. If the plaque isnít cleaned off, it can build up and have a lasting effect on your gums, teeth, and bone. Your teeth can actually become loose and need to be removed by a dentist.
Gum disease has three main stages: gingivitis, periodontitis, and advanced periodontitis. Gingivitis is the earliest stage, which starts with plaque buildup at the gum line. You may notice redness and bleeding gums when brushing and flossing. If found in this early stage, gum disease can be treated and reversed since the connective tissue and bone have not yet been affected. Periodontitis occurs when the connective tissue that holds your teeth in place is irreversibly damaged. A pocket forms under the gums allowing plaque and food to become trapped. If detected at this stage, the disease can be stopped from progressing with deep scaling and proper home care. Advanced periodontitis is the final and most destructive stage. The connective tissue and bone have been destroyed and lost causing teeth to shift and become loose. If aggressive therapy and scaling canít save them, the teeth may need to be removed.
Most people are not even aware they have gum disease because there is usually no pain. By scheduling regular checkups, early stage gum disease can be treated and stopped before it leads to a more serious condition.
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