Gum Health Is More Important than You May Think

Did you know that poor gum health has been implicated in heart disease, diabetes, stroke –even Alzheimer’s? It’s true.

Doctors have long known of the relationship between plaque buildup in our veins and heart disease. Our mouths can be a dangerous source of that plaque, if we don’t take care to reduce plaque levels.

If you only see a dentist when you’re in pain, you may remain unaware for years that you’re developing some very unhealthy conditions.

According to a recent article by Dr. Howard Marshall, only 50% of Americans even see a dentist for a yearly check-up. This means that symptoms of periodontal disease can progress for a long time, undiscovered.

Periodontal disease is caused by unchecked bacterial growth that begins in the mouth as gingivitis (swollen gums) and over a period of time can morph into bone and tooth loss, the doctor said.

Marshall describes the presence of periodontal disease in Americans as a “chronic epidemic.”

And it’s a dangerous one, since this unchecked buildup can greatly increase the risks of developing some deadly conditions that most people do not even associate with dental health.

Follow these tips from Dr. Marshall:

  • Even people whose gums appear a healthy pink, don’t bleed, and are not painful may be suffering from gum disease and bone loss.
  • Telltale signs include gum bleeding, bad breath, slight loosening of some teeth or increase in the spaces between the teeth.
  • Smokers, overweight people and some African Americans seem to be at greater risk.
  • Using toothpaste, mouthwash, and even flossing does not provide complete protection against gum disease.
  • A patient must see a dentist who does periodontal probing to detect periodontal pockets.

So, the main takeaway from all this is that you should see your dentist regularly, not just when you are in pain.

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