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The Truth About Gum Disease

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By Dr. Anasinski

There are a lot of fallacies or little known facts about periodontal disease that contribute to the fact that more than 75% of adults in the U.S. have some form of gum disease and most of them are unaware of the existing problem. Understanding the truth and facts about gum disease is a powerful tool for helping prevent any issues from developing.

Gum Disease is Serious

While often thought of as a minor infection, the reality is that the amount of tissue that exists in your mouth is equal to the amount of skin on your arm between your elbow and your wrist. Just imagine if that area on your arm got infectedit would definitely have an impact on your body. The same goes for any infection that takes hold in your gum tissue. In fact, studies reveal that whenever an infection exists anywhere in your body, C-Reactive Proteins (CRP) are created and these proteins irritate blood vessel walls which can result in narrowing of the arteries, cardiovascular disease, stroke or heart attack. The word disease should be a good indicator that a periodontal infection is not to be taken lightly.

In fact, in 2009 the American Journal of Cardiology published a consensus statement in which cardiologists and periodontists recommended the following:

Patients with heart disease should have regular dental exams to check for signs of periodontal disease.

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Persons who have periodontal disease and at least one risk factor for heart disease should be evaluated for heart problems.

Bleeding or Tenderness in Gum Tissue is Not Normal

If your gums bleed when you brush your teeth or you experience tenderness in your gum tissue when you brush, floss or even bite or chew, those are signs that something is not right and you should see a dentist as soon as possible.

Gum Disease Can Exist Without You Knowing It

While some diseases or infections will give off warning signs in the early stages of the problem, gum disease isnt one of them. Typically, by the time symptoms manifest, the disease is already destroying the bones and gum tissue that hold your teeth securely in your mouth. Regular dental checkups are the best way to ensure that gum disease has not taken hold in your mouth and is causing damage before any indications are present. Some of the most common signs to look for that can indicate a problem in your mouth are:

Bad breath

Tender, red or swollen gum tissue

Gums that bleed during brushing or flossing

Teeth that become loose to seem to have shifted

Periodontal Disease Causes More Tooth Loss Than Cavities

While many people believe that cavities are the number-one cause of tooth loss, that belief is erroneous. Recent studies now indicate that gum disease causes more issues than cavities on a ratio of more than 2 to 1.

The simple truth of the matter is that gum disease affects millions of American adults every year and left undiagnosed and/or untreated it can cause problems not only with your oral health but with your general health as well.

About the Author: Dr. Anasinski completed her residency in Periodontics at Northwestern University and is Assistant Clinical Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She holds many prestigious positions such as Delegate to the Illinois State Dental Society.



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