Gum Disease (Periodontal Disease)

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Got bloody gums?

Do your gums bleed when you floss? Sadly, most people think that it’s normal when their gums bleed. Well, it’s not. If you washed your hands and they started to bleed, wouldn’t you be concerned? Of course you would, yet most people don’t get worried about bleeding gums because no one is telling them the consequences. Bleeding gums are just one of many symp- toms of periodontal disease. Recent studies now show that periodontal disease can also increase your risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes complications, Alzheimer’s, pancreatic cancer, and even pregnancy complications including preterm low- weight babies.

Don’t forget to floss your arteries!

Can a toothbrush help clean out your heart? Surprisingly, yes. 80% of adults have periodontal disease and most cases go undetected. The disease raises the level of harmful bacterial in the mouth, which travels through the bloodstream to other organs in the body, and can lead to a plaque buildup in arteries surrounding the heart. Periodontal disease destroys your gum tissue and surrounding bone structure and is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. The process begins when the plaque that settles around your gum lines fails to be removed by daily brushing and flossing. When plaque stays on your teeth, it turns into tartar, and only your dentist can remove tartar. The plaque and the tartar are irritants that house the bacteria that causes the gums to become infected.

Good oral health is integral to general health.

Diseased gums release higher levels of bacterial pro-inflammatory components into the bloodstream. These bacterial agents can travel to other organs in the body and cause damage. The more teeth a person has lost, the greater the risk for cardiovascular problems such as heart disease. Brushing and flossing are effective means of preventing periodontal disease, but other systemic influences such as diabetes or high blood pressure can counteract these efforts. For example, Diabetes, which kills more people annually than breast cancer and AIDS, can weaken your mouth’s ability to fight germs, increase blood sugar levels, and make periodontal disease more difficult to control. Regular gum disease therapy and treat- ments can help avoid complications from diabetes as serious as death.

Imagine life without gum disease.

Live longer, increase the quality of life, keep your natural teeth, taste foods better, prevent other oral diseases, infections, and cavities and have increased salivary function. Proper dental treatment and maintaining your healthy teeth and gums makes living life gum disease free easy!

Gum Disease and Diabetes: A two-way street

Diabetes kills more people annually than breast cancer and AIDS.
Diabetes may weaken your mouth’s ability to fight germs, increase blood sugar levels, and make periodontal disease more severe and harder to control. Diabetes slows circulation, which can also make the gum tissue more susceptible to infec- tions. It also reduces the body’s resistance to infection, which increases the probability of the gums becoming infected.

Gum disease is the sixth complication of diabetes.
When diabetes is poorly controlled, high glucose levels in the saliva allow germs to grow and set the stage for gum disease. These “bugs” sit below the gum line and act as termites, eating away at your bone. But tooth loss is not the only conse- quence of gum disease. New research has shown not only the link to diabetes, but also heart disease, stroke, pneumonia, and even increased risk for problems related to pregnancy.

Control your blood sugar.
Maintaining healthy levels of blood sugar will help control diabetes as well as help your body fight off infections and may even lessen the severity of periodontal disease. Follow your physicians dietary and medication instructions and let your health care provider know if you are having problems controlling your blood sugar.

The bottom line.
People with diabetes tend to develop gum disease more frequently than others. However, if it is diagnosed in the early stage, it can be treated and reversed. If treatment is not received, a more serious and advanced stage may follow which includes irreversible bone loss. Live longer, increase the quality of life, keep your natural teeth, taste food better, prevent other oral diseases, infections and cavities, and have increased salivary function. Other symptoms such as poor wound healing, pain and/or burning mouth and tongue can also be decreased by controlling gum disease.

Tips for preventing periodontal disease:

Twice a Day

Brush your teeth. Also remember to brush your tongue and the roof of your mouth.

Once a Day

Floss your teeth and use an irrigator like a Waterpick or Hydrofloss for even deeper cleaning of the gum pocket.

2-4 Times a Year

Visit your dentist for a cleaning (50% of patients must go to the dentist more than twice a year to maintain gum wellness). Up to 70% of people have gum disease, so more frequent visits will be required until the disease is under control.

Do Not Smoke

Smoking increases the risk of gum disease. If you are a smoker with diabetes, age 45 or older, you are 20 times more likely than a person without these risk factors to get severe gum disease, bone and tooth loss.

Be Proactive

Visit your dentist if you have any of these symptoms or warning signs of periodontal disease:
• Bleeding gums when brushing or flossing
• Red, swollen, or tender fums or puss between the teeth and gums
• Gums that have pulled away from teeth
• Persistent odorous breath
• Loose or separating teeth
• Dentures or partials no longer fitting • A change in bite and jaw alignment

Vitamins helpful in reducing signs of periodontal disease:

Vitamin A

Helps maintain healthy gum tissue and salivary flow.

Vitamin B3 (Niacin)

May reduce symptoms of gingivitis.

Vitamin C

Eating foods rich in Vitamin C can be useful for lessening inflammation and healing the gum tissue

Vitamin E

Aids in the healing and restoration of damaged gum tissues. In addition to ingesting Vitamin E, people with irritated gums may find it helpful to rub the oil on their gums several times a week.

Coenzyme Q10

To help reduce gum inflammation and heal gum tissue by boosting the body’s immune sustem.

Folic Acid

Foliate mouthwash, like Nature’s Answer Perio-Wash, has been shown to reduce symptoms of gum disease, dry mouth, and bad breath.

Zinc

Mouthwashes containing zinc salts, like Breath Rx, may be useful in decreasing plaque, tartar, and bacteria buid up that contributes to gum disease. Zinc found in food sources and supplements boosts immune systems to fight infection and promote tissue healing.