Connection between Healthy Mouth and Healthy Body

Recent research indicates there is a likely link between gum disease and other health problems. There is evidence that bacteria in the mouth that are associated with gum disease may be linked to heart disease, artery blockages and stroke.

Additional research suggests that the bacteria that cause gum disease can be contributing factors in bacterial pneumonia and pre-term delivery, which in turn increases the risk of having a low-birth-weight baby, and people with diabetes often present with worsened periodontal disease, as well; recent studies show that periodontal disease in diabetics can make it more difficult for them to control their blood sugar. Furthermore, if periodontal disease is treated in diabetics, their sugar control can improve. Newer research is also linking periodontal disease to an increased risk for several types of cancer.

Gum disease (periodontal disease) is an infection of the gums that can destroy bone and other tissue that support the teeth. Periodontal disease develops when a sticky film of bacteria, called plaque, is allowed to build up on the teeth. A coating of plaque constantly forms on the teeth, but with proper daily cleaning, most plaque can be removed before periodontal disease develops.

In the early stages of periodontal disease (gingivitis), your gums may be red or swollen, and may even bleed. In time, your gums can separate from your teeth, and deep spaces called pockets can form. Bacteria then collect in these pockets, and their toxins cause inflammation of the gums, which can destroy the bone that anchors your teeth. If the disease is left untreated, your teeth may eventually become loose, fall out, or need to be removed.

Regularly scheduled professional examinations and cleanings also are necessary to prevent gum disease. Professional cleanings are the only way to remove calculus, which traps plaque bacteria along the gum line. Depending on your oral health, your periodontist may suggest surgical treatment and more frequent professional cleanings. Preventing and treating gum disease in its early stages are the best ways to keep your smile healthy.

Please visit our links to the American Academy of Periodontics and American Dental Association for further information on this subject or contact one of our members in your area.
 
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We encourage you to visit the American Academy of Periodontology website at www.perio.org for everything you need to know about periodontal health!