Gingivitis and Heart Disease

by Brenda Williams

; | Gingivitis and Heart Disease

Gingivitis and Heart Disease

By: Brenda Williams

Diseases of the gum, including gingivitis and periodontitis, are serious infections that can lead to tooth loss. Periodontal ( around the tooth ) disease is a chronic bacterial infection affecting the gums and the bones supporting the teeth.

Early periodontal disease causes red gums that bleed easily. This is gingivitis, usually due to inadequate oral hygiene. Pay more attention to brushing and flossing your teeth, and see your dentist regularly to reverse this condition.

Left untreated, gingivitis advances to periodontitis a condition in which untreated plaque, a bacteria infested, sticky substance that forms on the teeth, spreads and grows below the gum line, irritating the gums and destroying tissue and bone. The gums eventually separate from your teeth, forming infections. Eventually teeth become loose and require removal.

Medical studies show a clear correlation between gum disease and heart disease, proving that people with gum disease have a 25 percent greater risk of heart disease. Scientists have just begun to understand how inflammatory gum disease releases pro inflammatory chemicals into the bloodstream, triggering a systemic inflammatory response. People with poor oral health tend to suffer from poor nutrition, highlighting the importance of eating a nutritious diet high in fiber, fruits and vegetables.

If you are suffering from gingivitis or periodontitis, schedule an appointment to see your dentist. His or her goal will be to remove the plaque. For mild gum disease, a good cleaning and instructions for more careful brushing and flossing at home can begint he healing process.

Gingivitis and Periodontitis Warning Signs

• Gums bleed during/after brushing
• Gums are red, swollen or tender
• Persistent bad breath
• Bad taste in the mouth
• Gums appear to be receding
• Deep pockets of soft tissue are forming between teeth and gums
• Your teeth are loose or shifting
• Your teeth or partial dentures no longer fit properly

If hard layers of tartar have formed, you will need your dentist’s assistance to remove it via a process called ‘scaling’. The tartar will be removed and the hygienist will polish your teeth so bacteria have a more difficult time attaching and wreaking havoc. An antiseptic mouthwash may be recommended to temporarily control plaque.

For individuals who have developed periodontitis, the dentist will clean the pockets of infection about every two months until the infection can be brought under control. A process called root planning may also be needed to remove the infection around the root of your tooth.

To avoid developing these unpleasant conditions, maintain good oral hygiene at home and seeing your dentist at least twice a year for cleanings. Here are other helpful tips:

• Brush at least twice daily
• Protect against decay with a fluoride toothpaste
• Use a toothbrush with soft or medium synthetic bristles
• Brush in a gentle circular action over all surfaces of your teeth

Why suffer when there is so much you can do to protect your teeth? Take the time to take care of your teeth at home and do not allow fear or the cost of dental care to prevent you from seeing your dentist to prevent these conditions or address the symptoms of gingivitis or periodontal disease.

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