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Gum disease prevention

February 7, 2022

Filed under: Uncategorized — tntadmin @ 10:53 pm

Yes, you can prevent gum disease.

Good oral health habits—thoroughly brushing your teeth with fluoride toothpaste after breakfast and before bed, while angling your toothbrush to include the gum line, and flossing your teeth daily to remove plaque–will help prevent gum disease. An electric toothbrush’s bristle movement might help to remove more plaque or food from your teeth and improve your gum health.

“It’s also important to visit your dentist twice a year,” said Marie Campillo, dental hygienist at Westgate Dental Care, where prevention is a priority. “We screen for periodontal disease at every preventative hygiene visit. We also take patients’ blood pressure and inform them of any abnormal or high blood pressure readings.”

Gum disease—also known as periodontal disease—is a common bacterial infection of the gums. Plaque, bacteria and tartar build up on the teeth and along and below the gum line. This causes inflammation and can eventually erode the gum tissue and bone that support your teeth.

Healthy gums are light pink in color and feel firm to the touch, while those affected by gum disease will change to a darker pink, red, or even purple color as the infection develops.

Signs and symptoms of periodontal disease include bleeding with brushing or flossing, swollen gums that are sore to the touch, a pulling away or gum recession, a bad taste in your mouth and a change in the way your teeth come together.

Patients often nonchalantly tell us that their gums bleed, Campillo said. “I tell them that bleeding is never normal and try to relate it to any other body parts that bleed. It’s not normal for your eye or ear to bleed, and it would be of concern. I want patients to be equally concerned when they experience bleeding in the mouth.”

Many people are not aware that the mouth is the entryway to, and a part of, our whole system. It’s not separate from it. Bacteria that live in your mouth when you have gum disease can spread to the rest of your body.

The American Academy of Periodontology says there have been long-term studies linking oral health and heart disease by the spread of bacteria and other germs from your mouth to other parts of your body through the blood stream.

When these bacteria reach the heart, they can attach themselves to any damaged area and cause inflammation. This can result in illnesses such as endocarditis, an infection of the inner lining of the heart, and other cardiovascular conditions. Also, toxic bacteria from the mouth can cause blood clots.

February is American Heart Month so named to raise awareness about heart disease and to focus on ways to promote and maintain heart health. People with gum disease (also known as periodontal disease) have two to three times the risk of having a heart attack, stroke, or other serious cardiovascular event.

Periodontal disease is a progressive condition with potentially serious effects. According to the CDC, 70 percent of people older than age 65 have periodontal disease. Good oral hygiene and regular dental examinations are the best way to protect yourself against the development of gum disease.